CUMNOCK’S Jack McCalman knows there is more at stake than a title at next week’s Macquarie Bank Schools Tri-Nations Series.
McCalman is part of the Australian Schoolboys Rugby team which will take on the best schoolboys from Fiji and New Zealand next week.
The Australian side goes into camp today and McCalman knows his team’s success could have individual benefits.
“For me now it’s exciting but I know it’s a very key pathway to a future rugby career,” McCalman explained.
“I’m switched on to play well so we can win the Tri-Nations. I know a good performance can also hold me in good stead.”
The 17-year-old is already turning heads after he helped the NSW 1st XV take out the Australian Schoolboys championship in July by beating NSW 2nd XV 20-12.
Kinross Wolaroi’s Billy Freeman was part of the successful NSW team as well.
At the presentation, McCalman should have just stayed out the front.
As well as earning a grand final-winning medal, he was named the player of the grand final and the NSW schoolboy player of the year.
“That was a pretty awesome feeling,” the modest McCalman smiled.
He was then announced as part of the Australian Schoolboys side.
It’s a great progression for McCalman who was in the Australian A team last year, and then part of the Australian Schoolboys Sevens which played in the Youth Olympics earlier this year.
“I’m a senior member of the team which makes it a bit more exciting,” he said.
“More responsibility comes with it. It’s more serious this time.”
The Australian team will play Fiji next Tuesday and then New Zealand on the following Saturday.
“Australia has beaten New Zealand for the last two years,” McCalman explained.
“If we beat them that’s three years in a row which would be pretty special. That will be a good challenge. We really want to succeed and beat New Zealand.”
After the Tr-Nations, a 30-man squad will be selected for a month-long tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland, which McCalman described as the “pinnacle of schoolboy rugby”.
The squad will play eight games on the tour including matches against the schoolboy teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Despite this opportunity on the horizon, McCalman is not thinking about it.
“My focus is on New Zealand and Fiji. The tour is out of the picture at the moment,” he said.
“If I’m fortunate enough to get picked, that will be great.”
Should McCalman be selected, he will have completed his higher school certificate at The Kings School before the tour leaves on November 16.