Golden ex­pe­ri­ence for ju­nior Raiders

Whitsunday Times - - SPORT -

RUGBY UNION

FIVE Whit­sun­day Ju­nior Raiders have re­turned from the Queens­land Rugby Union (QRU) Ju­nior Gold Cup hav­ing shone for Cen­tral Queens­land (CQ).

Tyrell Lafi­tu­a­nai, Taine Browne, Jack Kearns, Ben Cor­nish and Jack Yeo­man over­came lo­gis­ti­cal chal­lenges and the might of metropoli­tan teams to do the Whit­sun­days proud over the five matches.

The CQ team cov­ers Proser­pine to Har­vey Bay and in­land to Emer­ald, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for the squad to train to­gether.

De­spite that hur­dle CQ man­aged two train­ing camps in Rock­hamp­ton prior to the first match against Gold Coast on Fe­bru­ary 15. A determined show­ing wasn’t enough, as the strong Gold Coast team eas­ily ac­counted for CQ.

Game two against Lo­gan was closer, with CQ pro­duc­ing a muchim­proved dis­play.

Af­ter the loss to Lo­gan the CQ boys were tested by a Wal­la­bies strength and con­di­tion­ing coach, who took their mea­sure­ments in­clud­ing height, weight, age and speed.

Aus­tralian Rugby Union (ARU) col­lected data from all Ju­nior Gold Cup teams for their data­base which will help them iden­tify fu­ture Su­per 15 play­ers.

Fol­low­ing this ex­er­cise CQ at- tended Sun­corp Sta­dium to watch the Queens­land Reds play the NSW Waratahs.

CQ’s third game of the tour­na­ment en­tailed a trip to Yamba, NSW to play North Coast.

A phys­i­cal en­counter suited CQ’s for­wards who in­spired the team’s first win of the se­ries.

Up next was the might of West­ern Australia, who boasted some of the big­gest 15-year-olds in the coun­try.

The first 10 min­utes saw CQ on the back foot, how­ever they bat­tled hard to pro­duce a coura­geous ef­fort. De­spite the loss, CQ’s coaches were thrilled with the gutsy per­for­mance, es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing the strength of the op­po­si­tion.

From there CQ rushed back to Rock­hamp­ton for their fi­nal as­sign­ment – Bris­bane Or­ange on March 14. An en­ter­tain­ing en­counter il­lus­trated how far CQ had come since the start of the tour­na­ment, im­prov­ing out of sight.

Ap­pro­pri­ately, CQ fin­ished the Ju­nior Gold Cup with a win, dig­ging deep to hold off Bris­bane Or­ange.

ON THE RISE: Whit­sun­day Ju­nior Raiders Tyrell Lafi­tu­a­nai, Taine Browne, Jack Kearns, Ben Cor­nish and Jack Yeo­man im­proved out of sight dur­ing the Ju­nior Gold Cup.

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