Taking it to a higher level – 2017 Stingray Rugby Pathway Opportunities

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The 2017 Stingrays representative season will provide some great opportunities for our aspiring senior and junior players. The rugby pathways include both 15-a-side and 7s Rugby, with the Sunshine Coast renowned for producing a crop of outstanding players.

We’ll outline the 7s and Women’s opportunities separately as generally the 7s window is moving to the September to November time frame.

To view all the season dates, including the representative games download the Season Calendar from the SCRU web site: http://www.scru.com.au/stingrays/stingrays-events/

The representative season starts with the Sunshine Coast Open Schoolboys (U18) competing in the Qld Combined Secondary School Championships at Sunnybank from 4-7 May. The Sunshine Coast has won the last three tournaments and finished with a large representation in both the QCCS team that competes in the Qld Schoolboy Championships and the Qld Open Schoolboys. The trials for this team are to be help at Noosa on Tuesday 14 March. Players interested in trialing should contact their school’s Head of Sport immediately and request nomination in one of the four school regional teams (Northern, Central, Southern or Independent) that play off during the trial in a few weeks.The Open and U19 Sunshine Coast Country Stingray teams compete next as part of the South Qld Championships against Gold Coast and Darling Down from Friday 19 May to Sunday 21 May. The Sunshine Coast will be hosting these games this year at a venue or venues yet to be confirmed. Players will then go on to be selected for South Queensland and compete against Central and North Queensland from 2-4 June for ultimate selection in the Qld Country team to play NSW Country. The Stingray Country team has a long and successful tradition of Qld Country representation with players cherishing the honour of wearing the Cooktown Orchid and learning the Qld Country Creed. Selectors will be viewing the early rounds of the Senior and Colts competitions in search of players of the caliber to represent the Sunshine Coast.

The Qld Junior Championships moves to Brisbane this year for the U16s, U14s, U13s & U12s from 30 June to 2 July. The U12 age groups is the first experience for our players to play at the next level and is treated as a development opportunity, but teams selected on merit. There is also an U12 Schoolboys teams selected in this age group, with trials at Caloundra on 8 & 9 June. The U12 Schoolboys play at Nerang from 3-6 August. The selection process for the Jnr Stingrays is extensive, with both coaches and independent selectors watching club games and extended squads training before the final teams are announced.The Sunshine Coast Rugby Union is currently considering a touring opportunity for our U17 Stingrays, with a proposed week-long country tour being developed for the June/July holidays, with games at Goondiwindi, Emerald and Rockhampton, including a farm stay near Mitchell and a visit to Carnarvon Gorge. The aim will be for these young men to both experience country Queensland, Qld Country Rugby and hospitality, and tour with a number of mentors who have represented Qld Country.  A pre-season Tens tournament will be held to attract our U17s and a Qld County U17s Tens tournament is also under consideration.

Last, but not least, is our U15 Schoolboys who will travel to Townsville to compete in the Qld U15 Schoolboy Championships from 20-23 July. Trials will be held at Noosa on Tuesday 23 May in the same format as the Open Schoolboys, i.e. nomination via Head of Sport and selection in regional teams. This tournament is one of the most challenging for our junior players and is the only pathway tournament that includes all GPS, AIC and QCCS players in the one tournament. In recent years the Sunshine Coast has stunned the Brisbane teams with their skill and passion. In 2015 our Sunshine Coast U15s went through undefeated before narrowly losing the final.

The representative season is not only a great development opportunity for our players, but also our coaches and team management. Not only can our players be challenged at a higher level, but also our coaches and managers. In addition to our players going on to represent Qld Country and higher honours, so are our coaches and managers.

While Stingray Rugby is aimed to challenge and develop our players the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union is also conscious that representative rugby needs to be fun and reinforce the ethos and mate-ship that makes rugby such a great game.

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