Three students from The Armidale School were honoured to pull on representative rugby jerseys for the Athletic Association of Great Public Schools (AAGPS) during the holidays, mixing it with some of the best schoolboys in the game.
Their selection named on the final weekend of Term 2, Samuel Jackson-Bolton and Joseph Kingham were part of the Open GPS Blue and White squad, while Michael Baldock was included in the GPS (16 years) President’s squad. During the week of training and competition, Joseph and Samuel were accommodated at The Scots College, whilst Michael boarded at The King’s School.
On the first day of play (21 June) GPS Blue and GPS White faced each other at the Shore School War Memorial Playing Fields, with Samuel and Joseph playing for Blue which defeated White.
Two days later at Boronia Park, Samuel scored a try for GPS Blue in their 51-5 winning game against Sydney JRU.
“There was a bit of space and the fullback passed it to me, and I ran over,” Samuel said.
Joseph played for GPS White which defeated Country Junior Rugby U18s 19-7.
“It was a really great experience to see what the next level of schoolboy rugby is like, and also boarding at Scots,” said Joseph, who is also the TAS Captain of Rugby.
Meanwhile in the GPS Presidents’ (16 years) XV teams, number eight Michael Baldock was vice-captain of the 16Bs for three fixtures. On Saturday 25 June the team went down to Independent Sporting Association 5-35 and then to Combined Catholic Colleges 19-31 but the following day had more success, defeating Association of Independent Co-Educational Schools (AICES) 27-5.
“The training sessions were really full on, and the matches were fast-paced and quite a step up. King’s were really hospitable, and the whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable,” said Michael.
TAS Master in Charge Rugby and Combined AAGPS selector David Drain said it was a great opportunity for the boys to be part of the GPS pathway and play on the paddock with some of the best young schoolboys in the country.
“The experience augurs well for the remainder of this season’s fixtures and will also set them up well for next year when again, TAS will be playing fixtures against our fellow GPS schools,” he said.