Six of the best for Queensland Schoolboys
IPSWICH has produced one of its largest contingents of Queensland rugby union representatives following the state titles.
Landon Hayes (centre), James Todd (fullback) and Jamason Fa'anana-Schultz (reserve back-row) are in the Queensland 1 squad, with Izack Rodda (second-row), Carlin Anderson (five-eighth) and Shambeckler Vui (reserve prop) in the state seconds team to contest the national schoolboys titles at Riverview College, Sydney next week.
St Edmund's College provided further Ipswich representation with Ryan McCully picked on the bench for the Queensland 2 team.
Anderson, Vui and Fa'anana-Schultz all earned their selection after initially being part of the GPS 3 side at the state titles at Ballymore last week.
"All of them stood up and performed well," Ipswich Grammar School sports co-ordinator Aaron Moore said.
"James Todd and Landon Hayes were exceptionally good.
"Jamason was fantastic all three days.
"We were really happy with the way Carlin and Sham worked their way up from GPS thirds to earn selection."
Instead of writing off their chances of Queensland selection, the three showed their mettle.
Fa'anana-Schultz saw it as an opportunity rather than a disappointment.
"I expected to do better," he said.
"I knew I had to work harder."
He did and it was rewarded by the selectors.
"My ball-running was probably the standout," said Fa'anana-Schultz, who lives down the road from his school at Woodend.
"We all played with the IGS spirit.
"It's how we were taught to play."
Fa'anana-Schultz represented Queensland under-16s last year and the experience helped him this time, but he admitted a surprise at the pace and standard of the Queensland trials.
"It was a high standard," he said.
"At least we know now what to expect."
The big number eight has no doubt he and his teammates can wear Aussie gold together this year.
"We all can if we put the right effort in," he said.
"We've all got the potential to be better than we are now."
Grammar has had a string of Australian schoolboys representatives in recent years, from Rod Davies and Albert Anae to Maile Ngauamo and Aaron Pleash in the past two seasons.
Hopes are high the school can get have more players represent at the highest level this year.
"The boys showed they can really compete at this level," Moore said.
"If they can keep going it would be great. They seem to rise to the next level. It shows the signs of their work ethic."
Whether it will translate to Grammar success in the GPS schools competition is another matter, he said.
Grammar finished second in last year's competition, behind only Brisbane Grammar School, who they beat in the round robin.
"If the boys can stay fit and well we'll go okay," Moore said. "But our biggest challenge is our depth."
There seems little doubt the school's rugby program is on the right track.
"We're doing what we've always done," Moore said.
"We're just doing it a little bit more professionally.
"Having Dan Eagles as our coaching consultant has made a difference.
"He's across the whole program and focused on the skill-based stuff."
Grammar also had eight boys selected in the under-15 Met West team to contest upcoming state titles.