Matt Oberthur, Allen Cobbo, Braiden Woodman, Logan Stubbs and Dion Bunyan.
Matt Oberthur, Allen Cobbo, Braiden Woodman, Logan Stubbs and Dion Bunyan. Alistair Brightman

Rugby union representatives ready to rumble

HERVEY Bay has produced a large contingent of rugby union representatives for the 2013 National Indigenous U16 Schoolboys Championship.

Xavier Catholic College students Allen Cobbo-Mould, Matt Oberthur and Dion Bunyan will join Hervey Bay State High School's Braiden Woodman and Logan Stubbs at the two-day tournament on the Gold Coast, which kicks off on Sunday.

Four of the boys will be representing Queensland South, while Bunyan will line up for a combined state team.

It is evidence of the steady growth of the 15-man code in Hervey Bay.

Xavier Catholic College indigenous liaison officer and rugby coach Glenn Gamble had the task of preparing the boys, aged 15 and 16, for the tournament.

He said the carnival was a great chance for the boys to display their burgeoning skills on the national stage.

"This is an opportunity for the indigenous youth to go down to play in a national showcase environment where you can show your skills, and show your wares where you might be seen by a selector," he said.

There's no doubt their success has been reward for the work ethic they've shown.

To achieve selection, the players had to attend trials at Ballymore, where they competed for selection against players from traditional rugby powerhouse schools Nudgee, Marist, TSS and Churchie.

After making the indigenous team, the boys have had to drive to Brisbane every Sunday for the past four weeks for training.

To help improve their rugby skills they have also attended extra training sessions at Xavier's and mixed it with the Fraser Coast Mariners' senior team during their training nights on Tuesday and Thursday.

While the national indigenous championship is the players' main focus, Cobbo-Mould and Woodman could soon have an even higher honour bestowed upon them.

After impressing selectors during the selection trials at Ballymore, the pair were invited to trial specifically for the Queensland schoolboys under-16 team.

Having survived three cuts, both of them are now on the cusp of making either one of the two state teams that will be named to contest next month's national U16 championships in Sydney.

"The reason Braiden and Allen stand out is their willingness to run the ball and willingness to tackle and to try and do more work," Gamble said.

"Traditionally rugby players try to break the line, but these boys just want to keep scoring tries and want to keep busting through lines.

"Because they've played together in the same team from pretty much under-10s, under-12s up, they can read each other's play, which is another aspect of their game that stood out."

RISING STARS

Allen Cobbo-Mould (utility): A speedy, skilful ball runner and powerhouse tackler.

Braiden Woodman (Number 8): An explosive, dynamic runner and hard to bring down.

Logan Stubbs (loose head or tight head prop): A mobile prop, whose greatest strength is at lineouts and scrums.

Matt Oberthur (Flanker or hooker): Great passing and support game.

Dion Bunyan (Hooker): Hard worker, all-round skills and determined to learn.



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