COUNTRY CALLER FOOTBALL COVERAGE SPONSORED BY INTURA

By Caitlin Crowley

A RECORD number of Downs Rugby representative sides from U-12s boys through to senior men and women are on their way to the Southern Queensland Rugby Championships on the Sunshine Coast, including the first ever U-15s girls’ team, playing 15-a-side rugby.

Captain Pypah Campbell said although none of the Downs girls had played 15-a-side rugby before, they were all keen to give it a go.

“We’re really excited to play,” Ferguson said. “It’s a big change, a lot more girls on the field but we’re all ready to go out there and have a good time.”

Downs Rugby general manager Matthew Hammond said this was unprecedented representative action, with Downs Rugby usually sending just four teenage boys teams to the state championships.

“All the Downs Rugby teams participating, with the exception of the U-12s boys, have the opportunity to be selected for Southern Queensland Country,” Hammond said.

Under 13s boys Ethan Bradey and Oien Campbell

He singled out Oien Campbell in the U-13s boys and Pypah Ferguson as players to watch and said there’s “exciting talent” on the Downs right now.

Darling Downs sides will play teams from the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, at Sunshine Coast Stadium this weekend.

Players selected for Southern Queensland Country will go on to the Queensland State Championships, hosted at Toowoomba Grammar School and Toowoomba Stadium July 1-3.

“Obviously all the boys teams have been going for ages and we’re just keen to join them, have fun and support them too,” Pypah Ferguson said.

“It’s so exciting, the women’s sport is growing everyday now, so it’s exciting to see and see the opportunities that are being presented to us.”

“We have really good pathways for our teenage girls, be that in 7s or 15-a-side – what we’re seeing this weekend,” Matthew Hammond said.

“We have the 2029 Rugby World Cup in Australia and the 2032 7s pathway with Brisbane hosting the Olympics, so there’s a massive future.”

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