For­mer in­ter­na­tional rugby star at­tends ju­nior sea­son sign-on

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

RE­TIRED in­ter­na­tional rugby union player Brent Cock­bain sur­prised lo­cal kids with a spe­cial train­ing ses­sion at the Whit­sun­day Ju­nior Raiders sea­son sign-on last Fri­day night.

More than 100 kids came rar­ing to go for the 10 week sea­son, mak­ing the most of an op­por­tu­nity to have a run with Cock­bain and pick up a few valu­able tips on the way.

Orig­i­nally start­ing out as a grass­roots player in In­n­is­fail, Cock­bain went on to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in the un­der-19s and un­der-21s be­fore qual­i­fy­ing for Wales and mak­ing his in­ter­na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tive de­but in the Rugby World Cup in 2003.

He also played in the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions tour of New Zealand in 2005.

Cock­bain said it was nice to be able to give some­thing back to the sport.

“The ju­nior level is al­ways great to work with be­cause they pick up on things so quickly and they are a pas­sion­ate bunch of kids which is re­ally pos­i­tive,” he said.

“The best part about the game is that even if you don’t make it as an in­ter­na­tional or pro­fes­sional ath­lete, it’s a great way of meet­ing peo­ple any­where in the world.”

Six play­ers from the Whit­sun­day Ju­nior Raiders were se­lected to play in the Queens­land Bushrangers rep­re­sen­ta­tive sides af­ter com­pet­ing in the Queens­land ju­nior rugby state ti­tles in Emer­ald early this month.

Un­der-17s player Kieran An­der­son and un­der-16s player Ja­cob Cheese­man made the cut and un­der-13 play­ers Ben Cor­nish, Jack Kearns, Jeremy Kemp­ston and Tyrell Lafi­tu­a­nai also made the team.

All un­der-10s, un­der-12s and un­der-14s play­ers will now be busy pre­par­ing for the Whit­sun­day’s first ju­nior raiders car­ni­val next week­end from July 27-28.

In­ter­ested play­ers can still sign-on at the Raiders Rugby Club at the Whit­sun­day Sports Park from 6pm to­mor­row.

RIS­ING STARS: Whit­sun­day Ju­nior Raiders play­ers (front) Lach­lan Skead, Sam Wil­son, Lach­lan Wade, Aaron Kearns, (back) Joe Wil­son, Jack Ryan, Gus Muller, Jack Opie and Judd Pratt picked up a few skills from re­tired in­ter­na­tional rugby union le­gend Brent Cock­bain at the club's sign-on last week.

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