The Reds revival in Queensland is bringing back the popularity of rugby among young fans.
The development of a school-based tournament is now aimed at recruiting even more players around Australia with the lure being a chance to go to the Olympics.
Kathy Quinn reports.
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Known as rugby league specialists, students from Keebra Park were proud of their achievements, winning the recent state and national Sevens tournament.
They were honoured by one of the game’s elite, Reds skipper James Horwill.
Sevens rugby, an adaptation of the more traditional 15-a-side game, has been a successful initiative from the ARU to encourage young players to experience rugby.
It will be an Olympic sport from 2016 and Horwill is excited about the prospects.
James Horwill, Queensland Reds Captain: “The popularity of Sevens over the years has been quite strong and it’s still growing and now that it’s been included in the Olympics it’s just grown from strength to strength and I think the more kids we can get playing it then hopefully they can come across to the 15 man code as well and we can go from there.”
Cayden Matehaere, Keebra Park SHS Student: “Yeah, it’s real good, it’s real good for the schools to build up for their tournaments and yeah, it was a real tough tournament.”
The students took advantage of the opportunity to ask Horwill about the Red’s resurgence and his thoughts on this week’s clash against the ACT Brumbies.
James Horwill, Queensland Reds Captain: “Oh, it’ll be a tough challenge, I think, you know, the last Australian derby, always fairly physical and it’ll be a good game I think, you know, hopefully we can get down there and we believe that we can play to our strengths and play as well as we can and come away with a win.”
While he agrees it’s too early to think about securing a semi-final spot, Horwill says the team is aware it would be a huge turning point for the club.
James Horwill, Queensland Reds Captain: “Oh, it’d be just, it’d make all the hard work and the heartache that we’ve put in and the disappointment over the years, it’d just make it all worth it, you know, we’ve had a lot of disappointing and lean times and it means a hell of a lot to this team.”
In a move for the future, versatile player Ben Lucas has today re-signed with the Reds, assuring a quality replacement for Quade Cooper, should they lose him to the Western Force.
The Reds take on the Brumbies in Canberra tomorrow night.
Kathy Quinn, QUT News