The Teys Australia 2019 Rugby Union program is set to run their final training session this weekend in Tamworth before they tour to Sydney. For the newly reformed Rugby Union program this will be their first real test. Traveling down to Sydney to take on what is widely considered the greatest rugby school in NSW, St Joseph's College.
The Northern Inland's NSW Rugby Union development officer Garry Walsh says this is the perfect way to get a gauge on where the boys are at and what needs to be worked on.
"We've got a young squad from eight towns across our region," Walsh said.
"A lot of these boys haven't played together and are still getting acquainted with each other at the training.
"So, the best way to build that bond is to throw them into the cauldron. It will be a tough challenge down in Sydney, but I look forward to seeing how the boys respond to that."
The squad have only held two training sessions together since the Teys Australia Rugby Union program was named in July. The U13 squad, coached by Angus Patterson from Scone and Jason Lincoln from Armidale, have been working on their ruck and maul structures in the forwards and their backs have been developing their plays, getting the basic skills and game knowledge to a place where the coaches are happy.
To travel to Sydney and play games against Joeys is a big ask for this young squad, but it was a must for the coaches, aware that they need to have these squads together and ready for a tough tour of the greatest rugby nation on Earth.
The full under-13s squad of over 30 boys will tour New Zealand for a week at the end of September. They will play two-games against local sides and also get some insight into the Maori culture through local experiences.
Teys Australia Rugby Union coach Angus Patterson says he looks forward to the opportunity and seeing what the boys can deliver.
"It's really exciting, we've got some talented kids but there is a lot of work that we can do to help develop them further," Patterson said.
The squad has also applied to the Central North Rugby Union to host a trial match as the curtain raiser for the 2019 Central North Grand final.
ATHLETE PROFILE: Mark Stones
How long have you been involved with NIAS?
My first year in NIAS was 2010 in the Lone Star program.
What are your goals in BMX? I'd like to one day coach in the sport but for now I've been approached about potentially competing in the Paralympics and representing Australia in 2024.
Highest achievement: I've made it to the National BMX Championships, competing against able bodied riders.
Hero: My favourite athlete has to be BMX rider and Australian Olympian Sam Willoughby; it's been pretty incredible to watch his recovery after the horrible accident he was involved in leading up to the Rio Olympics.