Geoff Andrews (1963), the president of the High Rugby Committee, reports on plans for the 2012 season.
The movement of the GPS athletics season to March-May this year has seen the GPS winter sport season put back to May-September.
The 2012 Rugby season has kicked off with trials against St Pius, St Stanislaus at Bathurst and the annual trip to Armidale for all our teams to play TAS on 2 June. Next are trials against Grammar at McKay on 16 June, Cranbrook and Waverley College. The GPS competition runs from Saturday 28 July and finishes with the now traditional last round clash with Grammar on 8 September, this year at Weigall. Details of the fixtures and the rugby program can be found at the School website and match reports on the new High Rugby website.
This season, High, Grammar and TAS are playing as a combined fixture against the other Schools. In the Opens, Grammar will play 1sts, the winner of the High-TAS game will play 2nds and the loser will play 3rds. In the age groups, the winner of the High-Grammar trial will play As, the loser Bs and TAS will play Cs. Under the arrangement, all High’s games in the combined group’s home games will be at McKay, enabling a return to the traditional home game days for all our 15 teams.
This year, after many years of sterling service, Geoff Stein (1973) has retired as Master in Charge of Rugby and George Barris (2001) has taken on the role with great enthusiasm. We have also been fortunate to recruit Simon Kacimaiwai, a very experienced coach, most recently of the Cranbrook 1st XV, at 1st XV coach and Head Coach. Simon is being assisted with the 1st and 2nd XV by Pat McDonnell (2005) and Sam Gribble (2006) and by former Wallaby, David Knox. In the age groups, the School staff, Mark Pavone (Head Teacher Sport), Tony Hannon, Con Barris (1971), George Barris (2001), Geoff Stein (1973), Paul Scrivener, Mick Aldous and Anthony Cipolla, are being assisted by old boys Ben Stamati (2007), Samson Lou (2007), Gareth Deacon (2010), Leo Gordon (2010), Alex Koerber (2010), Bill Wang (2011), Isnad Zaman (2011), Michael Wong (2011), Sangeeth Subramaniam (2011) and Kumi Gunaratne (2011).
2012 is the fourth year of the program started in 2009 by the then Junior Rugby Coordinator, Serdar Bolen (1995), to rebuild High rugby from the 13s up. The first group of those boys are now in the 16s. When they started in the 13s, just six of the sixty boys had ever played any sort of football before and the improvement in their skills, fitness and competitiveness has been dramatic. There are still three teams in the age group and we hope they will all keep playing in Opens over the next two years, despite the pressure to concentrate on study.
The 2011 1st XV.
Overall in the last four years, progress in rebuilding Rugby has been tangible albeit slower than hoped. Nevertheless, lots of lessons have been learned and we have a much better idea of how to address the challenges posed by the High’s unique demographic and limited resources. Funding and coaching resources have been boosted and the big challenge now is to break through more of the cultural and organisational barriers stopping the participation and commitment of a greater number of boys. Since 2009, we’ve grown from 11 to 15 teams and our target now is 4 competitive teams in each age group and 20 plus teams overall. With that will come more competitive 1st and 2nd XVs.
How you can help
To facilitate support for the High Rugby program from the broader High community, the High Rugby Association is being formed to bring together old boys and past parents with staff, coaches and current parents. If you wish to help in any way with coaching, managing a team, refereeing, first aid, rugby equipment and consumables, rugby trips, contacts, fundraising, sponsorship, trophies, advice, taking a role in the Association, or anything else please contact me at 0438 421 886 or firstname.lastname@example.org or MIC George Barris at BarrisG@sydneyboys-h.schools.nsw.edu.au
Also, the School’s Year 9 intake of 20 extra students provides opportunities for boys with an interest in playing rugby who meet the qualifications for entry, including sons and grandsons of old boys, to come to High. Applications for 2013 close in late July and details of how to apply will be available from mid-June on the School website