FARRER will be chasing another trip to the Gold Coast for the National Schoolboys Sevens Finals in Sydney today.
Last year, in its first year in the competition, the Tamworth school acquitted itself brilliantly, making the final of the state finals and then the plate final at the nationals.
They head down with high hopes of earning a repeat trip to the nationals after winning the regional day at Newcastle back in June.
“We didn’t drop a game for the day,” coach Kylie Dawson said.
And only conceded the one try.
“The team we played in the grand final was the only team to score a try against us,” she said.
The final was played as a curtain-raiser to the Wallabies and Scotland Test and in horrendous conditions.
“But the kids have said they opened for the Wallabies,” Dawson said.
Things are looking brighter on the weather front for today but they do have a “hard pool”.
“We’ve got St Greg’s Campbelltown – St Greg’s and us played the final last year – Patrician Brothers and Picnic Point,” Dawson said.
She doesn’t know a lot about Picnic Point but is expecting Patrician Brothers to also be pretty handy with their league background and their size.
“They’ll be big. They were there last year and were big,” she said.
The top two side from each of the pools after the round games will go on to the semi-finals.
Last year Farrer was second in its pool and then won its semi.
“We’ve got a pretty much similar side to the one that got to the nationals last year for their first taste,” Dawson said.
“The kids will be better for that.”
They learnt a lot from the experience.
“We learnt we need that quick ball and learnt we need to be rehashing that ball a lot quicker,” Dawson said.
They’ve also done a lot of practice popping the ball to keep it alive.
Most of the side have played together most of their careers, which should help too, and they have plenty of pace.
That’s a big plus in sevens.
“Last year we were able to use our speed and kick chase to get around those big guys,” Dawson said.
Still coming to grips with sevens, they also turned to some more traditional rugby tactics, to good effect.
“We played pick and drive rugby, and slowed their big boys down,” she said.
She said they’ve spoken about that being an option to revert to if they need to but they plan to play a running game first.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who can dazzle, like John Porch, Zeb Buchanan and Hayden Sweeney,” Dawson said.