AN exciting game between two Queensland school teams wrapped up The Armidale School Rugby Carnival yesterday, with The Southport School defeating Sunshine Coast Grammar two converted tries to one.
The Division1 grand final game was the culmination of two days of exciting rugby for 1000 boys and girls from 49 teams who had travelled from as far as the Sunshine Coast and the NSW Southern Highlands.
Two Brisbane school teams faced each other in the Division 2 final, with St Laurence’s College defeating Nudgee Junior College.
In third division, Tudor House Preparatory School from Moss Vale went down to St Aloysius College from Sydney but Tudor House was more than compensated by taking out the main award of the day, the BLK Team of the Carnival which recognises good spirit and sportsmanship on and off the field.
The autumn colour of New England and sunny and mild conditions provided a perfect backdrop for the event, which is the biggest under 13s rugby carnival in Australia.
At Saturday’s official opening, ARU boss Bill Pulver held up a signed Wallabies jersey he presented to TAS and urged the 1000 young players to “dare to dream”.
“With players from such a wide area and from some great clubs and schools, I’m quite sure some of you here will one day play for Australia. When you wear a Wallabies jersey it will change your life.”
The Tamworth-born executive said the inaugural Junior Gold Cup competition had been an outstanding success in providing a pathway for the game across Australia.
Pulver praised carnival organisers for the smooth running of the carnival and the “magnificent” state of the playing fields.
“You have thanked the ARU, but really it’s the ARU that should be thanking you for staging this magnificent carnival that showcases everything good about our game,” Pulver said.
“Thank you also, to the parents for introducing your sons and daughters to a game that will create relationships they will carry with them throughout life, and values that they will hold for life – passion, integrity, respect and solidarity. “
TAS Director of Co-Curricular Jason Lincoln said the carnival’s success was due to the contribution of a cross-section of the TAS and Armidale communities which rallied together to create something memorable to an estimated 3000 visitors from a large section of eastern Australia.