ALWAYS on the lookout for rugby potential, Michael Cheika will be keeping a watchful eye on Central West players this Saturday night.
The NSW Waratahs coach will be in Orange as an assistant coach to Blue Bulls mentor Matt McRobert for the HeartKids Rugby Cup clash between the Central West and the Deadwood Rugby Club at Endeavour Oval this weekend.
In a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Cheika will be extending an invitation to any Blue Bulls player that shows potential to come and train with his Super Rugby franchise this pre-season.
“It’s one thing he’s been doing with subbies and club rugby this year. If you’ve got potential, come down and train for a day and show us what you’ve got,” Australian Rugby Union western NSW development manager Mark Debrincat said.
Rarely has a team of the calibre of Deadwood ventured to the Central West to test the region’s best players; even rarer has been the chance to train with professionals.
“But that’s what he’s about,” Debrincat continued.
“It’ll basically be last year’s Central West side. Matt McRobert and the team are going to use this game as a way of kicking off their season.”
Orange City’s hooker Josh Tremain is the only Lion confirmed as a starter for the clash.
Parkes, Dubbo Roos and Bathurst clubs CSU and Bulldogs make up the majority of McRobert’s Barbarians side.
As for Deadwood, AJ Gilbert, Josh Holmes, Ben Matwijow and Dave Harvey have all played Super Rugby, while Bathurst product Charlie Clifton has toured with Australian Thunderbolts sevens side in Fiji.
Debrincat was thrilled with the line-up.
“All of the players for Deadwood have at least first grade experience at Sydney clubs, some of them Super Rugby,” he enthused.
“It’s going to be a great day.”
The match is just one feature of the HeartKids Cup, with the Deadwood players to run a three-hour junior clinic from 1.30pm at Endeavour Oval.
CENTRAL WEST BARBARIANS: Tom Hollis, Peter Fitzimmons, Chris Plunkett, Jack Garrad, Hugh Medway, Scott Burgess, George Quigley, Mahe Fangupo, Amoni Vea, Dan Ryan, Ben Ryan, Josh Tremain, Peter Nau, Wade Richardson, Brad Pugh, Ted Bates.