National Academy players will be out to impress not only national coaches, but Australian FxPro Super Rugby coaches and scouts in Sydney this Saturday as members of ARU’s Sydney and Brisbane-based academy squads face off against each other in an intra-Academy trial match.
ARU High Performance Unit Manager, David Nucifora, said this weekend’s game will provide exposure and a platform for the National Academy athletes.
“These rising stars among Australia’s Rugby ranks continue to work toward a professional career in the sport and this weekend’s clash will provide the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their ability,” Nucifora said.
“The guys have been working exceptionally hard since October and I have no doubt they will be very keen to put in to practice months of solid training.”
In early February more than 50 members of the Sydney and Brisbane National Academy squad descended on Ballymore for an intense two-day high performance training camp.
Under the supervision of Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, along with Nucifora and National Academy coaching staff Nick Scrivener, Paul Carozza, Patricio Noriega and Andrew Blades the stars of the future were put through their paces.
Since October last year ARU has run a completely centralised development program for its elite athletes in two training centres – Brisbane and Sydney.
ARU set up the centralised Academy following a review of the program throughout 2011. Previously ARU funded FxPro Super Rugby Franchises academies programs however, ARU decided last year to set up a National Academy with players based predominantly in NSW and Queensland.
The decision to centralise the program and run a National Academy ensures the development of the country’s best young talent will be developed for all forms of the game.
Nucifora, a member of the 1991 Rugby World Cup-winning Wallabies, believes the importance of the National Academy cannot be understated.
“Running a centralised development program is of benefit to all levels of Rugby in Australia,” Nucifora said.
“Having a National Academy allows us to develop Rugby talent for not just FxPro Super Rugby sides and the Qantas Wallabies but for our Sevens program as well.
“While it is important to ensure there is a constant stream of young Rugby players ready to step up to the next level in Super Rugby or U20s it is also important to ensure our Sevens program is catered for as well.
“With the Men’s and Women’s Sevens elite programs experiencing continued growth as we move toward the Olympics in 2016 it is imperative that we don’t just focus our attention on the fifteen-a-side game.
"The National Academy program ensures our young athletes are working together in a high-performance environment, which works to ensure the future of Australian Rugby remains bright.”
National Programs Manager, Anthony Eddy, said one of the key benefits of the National Academy is that it has brought the nation’s elite athletes and coaches together in the pursuit of excellence.
“With the National Academy operating, no team or program has to operate in isolation and player pathways can be more clearly defined without conflict.” Eddy said.
“For example, the Sevens program is now a priority for Australian Rugby and as a result of the National Academy, this program as well as others can be better serviced and resourced.”
The intra-Academy game will kick-off at 4:00pm tomorrow at Forshaw Park in Sylvania Waters, the home of Southern Districts Rugby. The game will be played in four 25-minute quarters.
Entry to the ground is free and Rugby fans are encouraged to come along to watch the stars of the future in action.
National Academy squads for Saturday trial:
New South Wales
Allan Alaalatoa(Aus Schoolboys)
Nigel Ah Wong
Damon Anderson(Aus U20s, Qantas Men’s Sevens)
James Ambrosini(Aus Schoolboys, Aus U20s)
Mark Baldwin(Aus Schoolboys)
Curtis Browning(Aus Schoolboys Captain)
Steven Cummins(Aus Schoolboys)
Tom English (Qantas Men’s Sevens, Aus U20s)
Jarrad Butler(Aus U20s)
Malietoa Hingano(Aus Schoolboys)
Blake Enever(Aus U20s)
Allan Faalavaau(Qantas Men’s Sevens, Aus Schoolboys)
Joel Faulkner(Aus U20s)
Apo Launipulu(Aus Schoolboys, Aus U20s)
Sam Launipulu(Aus U20s)
Bill Meakes (Qantas Men’s Sevens, Aus U20s
Phil Kite(Aus Schoolboys)
Jock Merriman(Aus Schoolboys)
Joe Lalagavesi(Qantas Men’s Sevens)
Guy Millar(Aus Schoolboys)
Matt Lucas(Aus U20s)
Scott Malolua(Aus Schoolboys)
Alex Northam(Aus Schoolboys)
Maile Ngauamo(Aus Schoolboys)
Pettowa Paraka(Aus Schoolboys)
Hugh Roach (AUs U20s, Aus Schoolboys)
Ted Postal(Aus U20s)
Ben Volavola(Aus U20s)
Dion Taumata(Aus Schoolboys)
Michael Wells(Aus Schoolboys)
Waldo Wessels(Aus Schoolboys)
Coach – Nick Scrivener
Coach – Paul Carozza