The successful Darling Downs Super Schools Cup is set to return tomorrow night, Wednesday 21 July, for its third year, with schools from across the Downs region in action at Warwick, Gatton and Gold Park in Toowoomba.
The 2021 competition will see Mary Mackillop Catholic College, Concordia Lutheran College, Highfields Secondary College, Toowoomba Anglican School, St. Mary’s College, Scots PGC Warwick, Plainland’s Faith Lutheran College and Downlands take part, competing across U13s, U15s and Open-age divisions. Downlands and Concordia Lutheran College are new to the competition in 2021.
As part of the competition, the schools will compete at Downs Rugby club venues to assist with the integration between schools and local clubs. Gatton Black Pigs, Toowoomba Rangers (Gold Park) and Warwick Water Rats will be hosting the opening round of fixtures.
Plainland’s Faith Lutheran College have been one of the success stories of the competition, winning back-to-back premierships in the open age division in 2019 and 2020, while also claiming the U13 title last year.
“During Covid last year it was tough, we were fortunate that the Darling Downs Cup kept going and it gave the students something to aim for and lifted the mood in the college,” said Faith Lutheran coach Thomas Kent.
“It’s getting bigger-and-better every year, we started off in 2019 a bit shaky but to win two premierships last year in U13s and opens, it was unreal.”
Faith Lutheran have also seen several players transition into either senior club Rugby in the Darling Downs or the Queensland Premier Rugby Colts competition. One of the key aims of the competition is to attract players from non-traditional Rugby schools to the game, and Downs Rugby General Manager Matt Hammond has been pleased with the continued growth the competition has experienced.
“We saw excellent year-on-year growth between 2019 and 2020,” said Hammond
“We started in 2019 with a good number of schools involved, but in 2020 we noticed an increase in skill level and commitment from the Colleges.
“Off the back of the Darling Downs Super Schools Cup, we get more-and-more students excited about Rugby and they’re talking to their mates, it’s benefiting the whole region and that will translate into Senior Rugby.”
The competition is backed by funding from the Australian Rugby Foundation, entering it’s third year of a three-year plan to develop regular XV-a-side Rugby opportunities for non-traditional Rugby schools. The hope is that the competition will continue to grow and develop beyond the funding period, continuing to unearth new talent from the Darling Downs Region.
Queensland Rugby Union General Manager – Community Rugby – Gaven Head said: “It’s great to see the Darling Downs Super Schools Cup go from strength-to-strength.
“The competition is run by representatives within the region, and on behalf of QRU I would like to thank Steve Coren from St Mary’s as the competition convenor, Downs Rugby Limited and all the teachers of the participating schools for their efforts ahead of the season.”