17s to perform on the big stage

RUGBY UNION

NORTHERN Inland’s 17s will get one of the biggest thrills of their young careers on Saturday night.

Their ARU Junior Gold Cup final round fixture against ACT will be played at Canberra Stadium as the curtain raiser to the Brumbies/Stormers Super Rugby clash.

The 15s also tackle ACT, but will play earlier in the day (10.30am) at Vikings Park.

Both sides will head in refreshed from a week off and buoyed by their recent wins over South Australia, which for both sides was their first.

One of the best for the 17s was their captain Nick McCrohan.

“It kind of made all the hard work pay off,” he said after the win.

McCrohan has really lead from the front all campaign and been outstanding at number eight.

The thrill of playing at such a prominent venue on Saturday night will be greater for him as he’ll be leading the team out.

It will cap off what has been a fantastic experience.

“It’s been one of the best experiences I’ve had playing rugby,” he said.

“It’s been good playing with all the local boys and playing against some of the players down in Sydney.”

It’s been a good gauge of the level his game needs to be at to achieve the higher representative honours he wants to.

“Hopefully I can go on and make Country,” he said.

His main aim this year though is to make the state 17s.

The JDG is a good stepping stone to getting him noticed for those teams.

Against South Australia a few silly mistakes nearly cost them the game, McCrohan said, but the game was, excluding the mistakes, a good blueprint for what they need to do against ACT. 

“It was our best start in the competition by far,” McCrohan said.

“We came out hunting at full speed and straight up we were 12-nil.”

There was also a clear intent at the breakdown to be aggressive.

“Our rucking and mauling was sensational,” he said.

“Also our defence was about 20 times better.”

They’ll need to replicate both on Saturday night and be even better with ACT expected to be a big step up on South Australia.

The game will kick-off at 5.30pm. 

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