In general, props don’t come into contact with wingers very often, not in rugby, and certainly not at a decent level, which is what Sunday’s NSW Country Cockatoos and ACT Brumbies Provincial clash is.
But Brumbies tight head Jimmy Roberts says he might make an exception to that rule this weekend.
The 34-year-old bookend is an Emus old boy and with current greens flier Tom Green named to make his country debut on the wing for the Cockatoos, Roberts says he might “float out wide there occasionally” to welcome his old teammate to what is the highest level of representative rugby for country players.
“I’m sure he’ll float infield for a few runs as well though,” Roberts said.
“We used to play together a few years ago and I thought he would always be capable of playing at this level, but thought he would have cracked the side sooner ... it’s no surprise he’s there this year.”
Since moving to Bateman’s Bay on the NSW south coast – an area that falls into the ACT Brumbies catchment – in 2014, Roberts has continued to play with the Bateman’s Bay Boars and cracked the provincial side in 2017.
He came off the bench last season against the Cockatoos but will start at tight-head come Sunday’s clash with NSW Country at Camden.
He’ll likely come up against Forbes prop Charlie French at scrum time, while Chris Miller (Cowra), Dan Ryan (Parkes), Mahe Fangupo (Forbes) and Peter Fitzsimmons (Bathurst Bulldogs) join Green as the Central West representatives in the Cockatoos line-up.
“It’s always a hard slog, especially in the scrum against these boys,” Roberts said.
“I think it’ll be similar, the two sides. A lot of the focus for us is on the forwards but we’ve got a couple of big fellas in the centres, too. It should be a close game.”
Cockatoos coach Mat Thomas said NSW Country will let the ball sing at Camden.
“The combo of Mahe Fangupo, more fondly known as ‘Smith’, and Ben Damen will dictate play for the backs. We plan to play a wide, expansive game ... to really showcase our new team,” he said.
The NSW Country Cockatoos colts also play on Sunday, with Pat Berryman (Dubbo), Lachlan Buckton (CSU Bathurst), Nick Fisher (Orange City), Hayden Goodall (Orange City), Sam Greatbatch (Orange Emus), Josh Jasprizza (Dubbo Roos) and Hayden Leopold (Orange City) named in the country under 19s team to take on the NSW Gen Blues.
Sunday’s action kicks off at 10am at the Camden Rugby Club.