THREE local rugby players are off to Adelaide this weekend to chase the dream of an Australia jersey at the Southern States Colts Championships.
Tamworth’s Darcy Barker and Harry Veitch will join Pirates recruit Mike Carr in the NSW Country Colts to contest the title.
A squad will be selected from the carnival to meet the Sydney Metro side in Canberra next month and, from that game, an Australian U20 side will be selected to compete in the Under 20 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in June.
“It is a great opportunity to match yourself against the best in the country,” Barker said.
“To go any further than this side would be amazing.”
The Country squad has been preparing for the games by training and playing alongside the Waratahs U20s.
“They touched us up a bit but it was a good experience,” Barker said.
The Country side will tackle Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia over three games in three days.
Barker will line up in the second row, whilst both Veitch and Carr play on the side.
Carr is a former Tamworth and Moree player who played a season last year for ITM Cup feeder club South Otago, before returning to Tamworth to play for Pirates this season.
Normally a hooker, the versatile and mobile forward has been moved to flanker at Colts level by the coaching staff.
“I don’t really care where I play,” Carr said.
“As long as I am on the paddock.”
Barker is also on the move, going straight from Adelaide to college at Newcastle to start his first year of an Exercise Science degree.
He will join the Newcastle University Angry Seahorses in the Newcastle and Hunter competition.
Veitch will once again pull on the black and white as he tries to help Tamworth make the top tier of the new-look Central North competition.
Whilst the squad has played one trial against the Waratahs and had a few training runs, three games in three days is a tough way to kick the season off.
“After five months off it will be tough,” Barker said.
“It is going to be a great opportunity and an awesome experience to play against the best players in the country.”
Armidale’s Tom Lomax will also be joining the squad in Adelaide.
This will be the last time the Country squad is together, before Central North plays in the Country Championships in May and the side is reselected.