CQ Wallabies legend keen to play in front of home crowd
RUGBY UNION: Stephen Moore is excited to be back where his decorated career started.
The 36-year-old has returned to Rockhampton as part of the Classic Wallabies Rugby Festival to be held at Victoria Park today.
The former Wallabies captain is Australia's most capped Test hooker with 129 appearances in gold. He is also the country's most capped Super Rugby player, with more than 150 appearances.
He will lead an experienced Classic Wallabies outfit against a Central Queensland Barbarians team at 5.30pm.
Moore will pack down in the front row of the team that features nearly 500 Test caps and 1500 Super Rugby caps of experience, including World Cup representatives from 1999 to 2015.
He said it was fantastic to be involved in the festival, which is designed to showcase both men's and women's rugby.
"It's great to be taking rugby out to the regions and it's a great way for the Classic Wallabies to also reconnect and spend some time together,” he said.
"I haven't played rugby here for a while, since I was about 10. It is a long time between drinks but I'm certainly very excited to be back here pulling the boots on.
"This is where it all started for me ... so it's awesome to be back again and playing in front of my home town.
"We're certainly looking to play some entertaining rugby. I know the players love getting out there and it all comes back pretty quick when you put the jersey on, so, hopefully, we can put on a good spectacle for all the locals.”
The festival program starts with a children's coaching clinic hosted by Classic Wallabies and Wallaroos.
It also includes a schoolgirls' sevens invitational tournament and a schoolboys' match, as well as a game between the Classic Wallaroos and the CQ Barbarians women.
Moore said the tour was a great way to bring rugby to the regions.
"Rugby doesn't always get the attention that it deserves in regional areas and that's part of our brief to get out there and showcase what the game is about.
"For me personally it's pretty special because it takes me back to when I was waiting outside the dressing rooms at Rugby Park for the Reds players to come out and sign my posters.
"I've still got those posters at home and some of those players I ended up playing with which is quite incredible.
"That brings it home how important it is to connect with the juniors at the grassroots.”
CLASSIC WALLABIES SQUAD
Matt Cockbain, Mark Connors, Sam Cordingley, Nick Gregorski, Sean Hardman, Justin Harrison, Stephen Hoiles, Patrick Howard, Julian Huxley, Troy Jaques, Steve Kefu, Peter Kimlin, Barry Lea, Patrick McCutcheon, Stephen Moore (captain), Sam Payne, Patrick Phibbs, Radike Samo, Guy Shepherdson, Morgan Turinui, Lachie Turner, Laurie Weeks
CQ BARBARIANS SQUAD
Stephen Curtis, Rupert Collins, Aaron Longbottom, Steve Benson, Ben Wiltshire, Onehunga Mata'uiau (captain), Jason Solis, Mick Benson, Jacob Raulini, Lee Anderson, Alistar Hirst, Vai Tanoai, Scott Barton, Mitch McDouall, Fraser Booth, Steve Ball, Trevor Robertson, Keith Taylor, Steve Zammit, Karl Anderson, Tom Newberry, Dane Barrett, Nick Holland, David Forrest, Scott Conaghan, Levini Bolaqace, Shaun Curtis, Tui Luva, Tyron Harvey, Peter McLaughlin, Andrew Kelly
GAME DAY PROGRAM
11am: Free kids rugby coaching clinic
11.50am: Open School Girls Invitational Tournament pool matches
12.30pm: Classic Wallabies Long Lunch
2pm: Open Schoolboys, Marist College Emerald vs CQ Combined Schools
3.15pm: Open Schoolgirls Invitational Tournament finals
4.25pm: Classic Wallaroos v CQ Barbarians women
5.10pm: Classic Wallabies v CQ Barbarians