Outsized but not outplayed, a 16s team from The Armidale School took out the title at the Scots PGC Rugby 7s carnival in Warwick on Saturday, just 18 months after being introduced to the sport.
Thirty one TAS players made the trip over the border for the carnival and while excited to again test themselves against Scots PGC and Toowoomba Anglican College and Preparatory School (TACAPS), were not sure how they would fare against some unfamiliar schools from western and south-east Queensland.
The under 14 boys were brave but ultimately outgunned in their matches, playing generally against teams with more size and experience.
After finishing runners up in last year’s competition, the 16s players were keen to go one better, and TAS Blue kicked off their day with a 38 – 10 win over TACAPS. In the next match, TAS White had a tight tussle against Our Lady of The Southern Cross from Dalby in a game that could have gone either way, but the rugby nous of the Armidale boys showed through, securing a 14 – 12 win. Unfortunately TAS White had to back up and play a big and fast Scots PGC outfit but were up to the challenge, leading with seconds to go until Scots secured a heart-breaking try right at the bell, TAS coach Michael Holland said.
“TAS Blue then confronted the huge St Francis, Crestmead boys, showing impressive grit to come from behind and score an upset win thanks to dogged defence, razor sharp attack and a dominant scrum,” Holland said.
Full of confidence, TAS Blue then downed OLSC Dalby 19 – 10. The final pool game was contested between TAS White and St Francis.
“TAS White were set the daunting task of needing to beat St Francis by 30 points to qualify for the final where they would play TAS Blue. It was another epic battle for the ages and the TAS boys played out of their skins to secure a 12 all draw. Meanwhile TAS Blue kept cool heads to win the thrilling final 17 to 12 over hosts, Scots PGC,” Holland said. “As one of our boys remarked, there was not a single team that didn’t outweigh us man for man but their fighting spirit kept them in games and their skill execution allowed them to take their chances to score.”
Mr Holland said it was an adventure none will forget for a while, with co-coach Matt Nott also utilising his auto-electrician skills when the bus ran into trouble near Tenterfield.
“After finishing runners up last year and winning the under 16 competition this year, the boys have a taste for Sevens and are certainly keen to defend the title in 2018,” Holland said.