GALLERY: Rocky students get lesson from rugby legends
RUGBY UNION: Young rugby players Harrison Becker and Mitchel O'Regan couldn't wait to tell their mates they would be learning from two of the game's greats at a skills session in Rockhampton.
The Rockhampton Grammar duo and their under-13 teammates were put through their paces by former Wallabies David Campese and Tim Horan yesterday.
The celebrated Australian reps, who between them played more than 180 Tests for Australia and won both the Bledisloe and World Cups, also visited Frenchville State School on a visit designed to promote rugby and encourage greater participation.
Campese and Horan addressed students at both schools and took part in Q&A sessions before hitting the field to share their extensive knowledge with the aspiring players.
The emphasis was very much on teaching the basics, with a focus on catching and passing, changing angles and one-on-one defence.
Becker and O'Regan said they would both be keen to apply their newly acquired skills to their respective games.
"It's an awesome experience. We're pretty happy that we get to do this,” Becker said.
"I was pretty excited and I went and told all my mates.”
O'Regan said it was great to learn from two rugby legends, adding: "Having experienced players telling us what we can do better means a lot.”
Campese and Horan said they were keen to spread the word about rugby, and continue giving back to the game that had given them so much.
"I think you learn the most between eight and 13 so it's important that the guys who've got knowledge of the game come back and instil that into the kids,” Campese said.
"I think it's also vital that we show we're still very enthusiastic about the game.
"Wherever you go in Australia it's the same... if you haven't got club rugby, we haven't got rugby.
"It's important that we get around and show we are interested in helping and that the unions realise if you can get it right here we're going to have a lot more players down the track, and a lot of skilful players.”
Horan hoped that visits like yesterday's would inspire youngsters to not only play rugby but also go further in the game.
"I think you probably get inspired when you're in that age group from nine, 10, 11 and 12 and you start having heroes and mentors,” he said. "Professional sports these days have a responsibility that they are role models for young boys and girls.
"You just have to look at the Australian women's 7s team. Girls like Charlotte Caslick who are playing wonderful rugby are inspiring a new generation of girls to play rugby.''