Big Announcements for Schools Rugby

The first-ever ASRU Australian Schoolgirl Sevens team will be selected at the 2023 National Championships. The team will represent Australia at the Global Youth Sevens tournament at the end of the year.

KEY ANNOUNCEMENTS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

  • The Australian Schoolgirl Sevens team will represent Australia at the Global Youth Sevens tournament at the end of the year
  • The 49th Australian Schools Rugby Championships, for Boys 15s and Girls U16 and Open 7s, will be held 3-6 July 2023 at Eric Tweedale Stadium, Granville Park, Sydney (arrivals 2 July). Home to the Two Blues Rugby Union Club
  • The Tongan Schoolboys team will tour Australia later in the year
  • The Australian Schoolboys team and an Australian Schoolboys Barbarians team will be selected from National Championships to play in a three-way competition with Tongan Schoolboys
  • $50,000 was raised for Schools Rugby at the Foundation Luncheon

280 people filled the Grand Ballroom at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel on Friday, 24 March, for a very special Australian Schools Rugby Foundation Fundraising Luncheon.

The luncheon raised over $50,000 for schools rugby in just a few hours, from ticket sales, raffles, auctions and direct giving.

With Rugby Australia discontinuing direct financial support to the ASRU in 2018, the Foundation’s fundraising efforts are critically important.

The funds raised through the luncheon will go directly towards the Australian Schools Rugby Championships in July this year, along with an inbound tour from Tongan Schoolboys and supporting the first ASRU Australian Schoolgirl Sevens team.

“This year, we will select both an Australian Schoolboys team and an Australian Schools Barbarians team,” said ASRU honorary secretary Stephen O’Donnell. “We’ll also be selecting the first-ever Australian Schools Rugby Union Girls Sevens team, which will compete in the Global Youth Sevens tournament at the end of the year.

“The Australian Schools union is a constant that provides the best possible rugby experience for our young players. It has existed for over 50 years and you will hear today what a positive impact participation in school based rugby, and then school based representative rugby, has been.

“Being a rugby experience run by teacher, this not only gives you a ready made volunteer force, but with their innate vocation as teachers nurturing young people it gives you an extraordinary skill set which is second to none.”

Stephen O’Donnell, Honorary Secretary ASRU (Waverley College, Sydney, NSW)

“All of these teams and tournaments require significant work to be able to provide these young superstars with the opportunities to represent their schools, states and country.”

The luncheon doubled as the 50th anniversary celebration of the 1973 Australian Schoolboys team ­—the first Australian Schoolboys team to tour the UK­—produced Wallabies Ken Wright, Mick Mathers, Phil Crowe, Thomas Barker and William Ross.

Speaking at the luncheon, new Wallabies coach Eddie Jones—who was part of a legendary Matraville High School team in the 1970s which won three Warratah Shields and featured future Wallabies Lloyd Walker and Mark, Glen and Gary Ella—said the success of many great Test teams could be traced back to national selection at schools level.

“You look at every successful World Cup team in the world, generally it started at the 18s level, goes to the 20s, and then they come up into the senior level,” said Jones. “I think it’s massively important. It’s a chance for the best kids to play with the best kids.

“Gives them a chance to play other countries, experience that feeling of playing together.”

“We have set up a national pathway for schoolgirls and we are supporting the states and territories to set up and implement their own state championships. Our focus is on establishing a really meaningful and sustainable pathway for our schoolgirls, a programme that that provides our female student athletes with an opportunity to access high level rugby sevens.”

Sarah Ridgewell, Head of ASRU Girls programme. Executive Committee Member, ASRU (Matthew Flinders Anglican College, Buderim QLD)

While missing selection in the famed 1977 Schoolboys team, Jones said the UK tour gave those players the belief which would be echoed for years to come.

“I think they experienced they could beat anyone in the world. That then continued through to ’91 World Cup, ’84 Grand Slam,” he said. “All of that success in that period was built on the success of the ’77 Schoolboys side.”

Australian Schools Rugby Foundation Chairman, David Mortimer, called for a strengthening of the relationship between Schools Rugby and Rugby Australia to ensure the highest quality teams can continue to be selected and produce even Wallabies and international Sevens representatives.

“Let’s see that all qualified players have the opportunity to represent their State and Country at that level.

“The Foundation, Schools Rugby and Rugby Australia all need to work closely together to underwrite success on the rugby field.”

Other guests to speak at the luncheon and speak glowingly of their own Schools careers were former Wallabies Captain and Executive Director of Australia’s successful Rugby World Cup 2027 bid Phil Kearns (Newington College), Australian Sevens star and 2016 Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Caslick (Brisbane State High School) and 2022 Australian Schoolboys captain Sebastian Bush (Northern Beaches Secondary College).

To donate to the Australian Schools Rugby Union Foundation, click here.

Executive Speeches

Sarah Ridgewell, Head of ASRU Girls programme

Stephen O’Donnell, Secretary, ASRU

David Mortimer, Chairman, Schools Rugby Foundation

By Brett Moore and Anthony Edgar

THE AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS RUGBY UNION ‘ASRU’

The Australian Schools Rugby Union ‘ASRU’ is an independent incorporated not-for-profit association run by volunteer members of the teaching profession and supporters who believe rugby has a unique ethos and benefits that contribute to the broader education of young people.

The ARSU is responsible for implementing, administering, coordinating, organising and controlling all projects and activities relating to all rugby union activities in Australia at the school level.

For over 50 years, the ASRU has provided an expansive nursery to foster the opportunities and aspirations of school rugby players from a wide range of established and emerging competitions and networks. From the 1984 Grand Slam-winning Wallabies team and the two Wallabies World Cup winning teams in 1991 and 1999, 27 of the players were Australian Schoolboy representatives. Since its inception in 1969 over 200 representatives of the Australian Schools Rugby Union have gone on to represent the Wallabies in the international arena. Hundreds more have been selected in state and other representative teams during this time.

THE AUSTRALIAN SCHOOLS RUGBY FOUNDATION

The Australian Schools Rugby Foundation is a separate incorporated body whose aim is to support the aims of the Schools Rugby Union. The Foundation comprises of businessmen, past Australian Schoolboys and Wallabies who look to use their business networks to provide additional financial support to the ASRU. The Foundation Chairman is David Mortimer.

MEDIA

Contact:  [email protected]

News

2024 ASRU Championships

The ASRU would like to formally invite State and Territory affiliates to participate in the 50th Australian Schools Rugby Championships. … Continued