Ipswich powerhouse rises as GPS force
RUGBY UNION: Ipswich Grammar will harness the backing of its wider community as the 1st XV continues its premiership campaign against Anglican Church Grammar on Saturday.
Having taken great strides this season to rejoin the upper echelon of the prestigious GPS competition, the red and white are preparing for the biggest day on their sporting calendar. Thousands are anticipated to attend the round six clash as the school welcomes back former students for Old Boys' Day.
Master in charge of rugby Michael Abbott said IGS had a rich heritage with many accomplished graduates and was looking to foster a strong connection with its alumni.
He said he hoped to see the hill packed with an army of supporters and he encouraged old boys far and wide to head along and support the rugby and basketball programs.
"It is also an opportunity for them to reconnect with friends and reminisce about great matches of the past and their old school days,” he said.
"It is always a really positive day and it is great see all of the older faces come back.”
The 1st XV has impressed so far, prevailing in its opening three matches before running into sensational Nudgee and Brisbane Boys' College outfits that are expected to challenge for the title.
In front of a bumper crowd, IGS matched Nudgee deep into the second half but the most successful team in history had aces up their sleeve and a spate of late tries meant the score blew out to 39-19.
Looking to bounce back against BBC, it was a similar story, with the rivals trading blows before the men from Toowong ran away with a 36-21 victory in the closing stages.
"On another day those games could have gone our way,” Abbott said.
"It's a credit to the players and to the staff for upskilling players. It has been a very pleasing year. It is good to be back up in the top three schools.”
Abbott said the talent-rich squad had been struck by injuries but everyone to have pulled on the jersey could hold their heads high. He said the significant contributions of hooker Ben Murphy, outside centre Ethan King and winger Seamus King-Smith earned special admiration.
Abbott said Churchie secured an encouraging win over Gregory Terrace last outing and would be a worthy adversary.
He said his charges held appropriate respect for their opponents but were confident the extra impetus provided by the returning old boys would drive them to an emphatic triumph.
In a sign the rugby program is tracking well, Ipswich has shown tremendous depth across the grades with the A teams firing on all cylinders. The 12A and 14As are undefeated, while the 13A and 16A units have met defeat just once in the hotly contested round robin.
On Saturday, the 1st V basketball tips off at 11.15am in the gym, with the 1st XV to follow from 2.15pm on the main oval at the school (near the pool).