WITH little to no background in rugby union, the Canobolas Rural Technology High School under 14s side wasn’t expected to make much of an impact in 2013.
But, competing for a place in the Coast to Country tournament, Canobolas knocked off renowned rugby nursery Kinross Wolaroi before beating James Sheahan Catholic High School, Cowra High School and Red Bend College, Forbes, to be crowned Western champions.
Receiving an invitation to then take on the best schools in Country NSW at Forster, coach Sam Coote was impressed with the speed in which the boys adapted to the game having never played rugby union before.
“On the day they were,” Coote said when asked if the squad of 20 was quick to pick up the ins and outs of rugby union.
“Ever since we won (Western) we’ve had training once a week.
“On the first tackle, 13 of the 15 boys ran back 10 metres and didn’t know what a ruck was, but they picked it up pretty quickly on the day, quick enough to win it.
“Fingers crossed the boys will bring the goods.”
Speed and size are two areas the team at Canobolas excels in.
They’re two traits that will see most teams thrive in any sport.
Yet to receive confirmation on just who Canobolas would tackle first up at Forster, Coote was confident his side would be able to handle themselves against some tough opposition from schools on the North Coast and Newcastle.
“We’ve got a few big boys,” he said, pointing to the group of kids kicking the ball around.
“That’s Epa Navale’s boy (Lachlan), he’s a 95 kilo 14-year-old. We play him at No.8 and then at scrums chuck him in at inside centre. It’s pretty deadly.”
Taking a bus up the coast next Monday, the team will play three games the next day.
Rugby union aside, the trip will be a learning curve for a lot of the side.
“The boys are keen to go, some of them haven’t seen a beach before. It’ll be exciting for those boys,” he said.