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Australian Schools Rugby News : April 2009
EDITORIAL AN HISTORIC YEAR 2008 WAS HISTORIC for two reasons – one good and one bad. The good reason was that our Australian Schoolboys Rugby Team defeated NZ Schools in NZ for the first time and, again, for the fi rst time, two years in succession. The bad reason is the global economic crisis and its effect on the fi nances of the ARU, and hence ours, for the coming year. THE GOOD For quite a few years now we have been very competitive with NZ, but seemed to be unable to get the few points by which they have been winning – their margin has been within 5/7 points for over fi ve years. In 2007 we won quite handsomely in Australia, followed by the narrow win, 15-11, in NZ in 2008. In one memorable game at Ballymore a few years ago we lost by just a few points after being held up over their line NINE times, with no try being given in every case. That game was probably the height of our frustration and disappointment – 2008 was, undoubtedly, the height of our satisfaction. Our players, fi rst and importantly, deserve the credit for this. The 2008 group seemed, at fi rst, to be unremarkable – they were, without exception, a well behaved, quiet, cooperative group of young men – whose enthusiasm, commitment and determination was clearly belied by this apparent “quietness”. So they deserve our congratulations and thanks for their efforts and achievements. The team management and selectors then also have earned our admiration and gratitude for what they – did – as always on an honorary basis, over many weeks and months, to prepare and select the players. The value of what they did is clearly shown by the results. Curtain Raiser to Bledisloe Cup – it also must not be forgotten that the Australian Schoolboys Team defeated Fiji Schools in a tight game at Ballymore in September – playing an historic curtain raiser to the Wallabies v NZ game – the fi rst time ever that an Australian Schoolboys 3 team has played a curtain raiser to a Wallabies game. This was the result of the generous invitation from the ARU and an unusual overlap of our seasons. The Australian Schoolboys also defeated Tongan Schools in Tonga – so winning all three of their Tests in 2008. Whilst in Tonga they also made history by being the fi rst national team of any sport to visit and play in Tonga’s second largest island Vava’u. This was a most marvellous experience with the locals really turning on the welcome and hospitality – there were fi ve schools present at the game – three of them supporting the locals and the other two schools supporting Australia – which they did with great enthusiasm. THE BAD Firstly it needs to be said that our situation is not of the order of a problem that many people are, and will, be experiencing from what is happening in the world. Hence, no matter what pain we may experience in 2009, we must keep it in proportion and empathise with those whose even basic living has become very difficult.