DEFENDING Orange City Invitational 10s champions the YBM Chargers will contest tomorrow’s tournament with a squad “not as strong” as the unit that claimed last year’s prize in a canter.
That is, of course, if you class an outfit brimming with representative and premiership winning players as weakened.
With former Australian Sevens representative Luke Johnson and Queensland Country player Ross Morrissey set to be joined by the likes of Michael Sparks, Sam Powell, Dan Johnson, Todd Morrissey, Ollie Stone and Zarin Barber, the YBM Chargers will head into tomorrow’s running-rugby spectacle favourites to go back-to-back.
Skippering the Chargers, Sparks said backing up the 2013 win with another strong campaign this year would be “a hard double”.
“We’re not coming with as strong a squad as we had last year but it’s definitely still a decent squad,” Sparks said.
“We don’t get very many opportunities to play together as a group so it’s definitely something we enjoy.”
In all, 12 teams will contest this year’s Invitational 10s.
Broken up into three pools of four, the top side from each pool will go straight through to the cup finals while the next best performed side form the pool stages will fill the final semi-final spot.
The remaining teams will contest the plate and bowl finals.
Of the Blowes Clothing or GrainCorp Cup outfits attending the 10s tournament, Dubbo Rhinos and CSU Orange will play while the Island Boys and the Jack Blunt Legends will challenge the Chargers for this year’s prize.
Competition organiser Paul Ryan said the carnival was a perfect means for players to get some much-needed match fitness before the season proper.
“It’s good for the combinations as well. The Central West colts played last year, they then went on to go through the country championship undefeated, drawing the final to be deemed joint champions. Steve Hamson coaches that side,” Ryan said.
“We’d always love more (teams) but it’s about the same as last year.”
Saturday’s rugby begins at 1pm at Pride Park.