Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has spent the afternoon watching the seven a side rugby matches, taking place at the University of Wollongong.
The matches begin the competition phase for rugby union players, as they compete in the ClubsNSW Academy Games.
Deans cast his eye over the state’s most promising young talent and applauded the development work currently taking place.
“Not only do they get value, they spent a whole day getting coached by some of the best brains around,” said Deans. Australian Rugby Union officials and coaches have run a number of skill sessions with the players and the seven a side game offers players the chance to put these skills to the test.
It is the second year in a row that Deans has visited the games and the standard of competition continues to impress him.
“It is the perfect weekend really,” he said.
He highlighted the seven a side game as a vital component of such development programs.
Australian Rugby Union’s Ben Whittaker, who is the national talent development officer is optimistic that the seven a side game will continue to prosper.
“With its inclusion in the Olympics for 2016, it gives players something to aim towards,” said Mr Whittaker.
Words & video: NATHAN THOMPSON