Under 85kg Rugby

Every year Beecroft Rugby Club will look to enter an under 85kg team to cater for this growing sport and the huge numbers coming to Beecroft. If you are interested in playing weight restricted rugby please come down and get involved in this fine form of the game. Its played during the week at night under lights, its fast paced and hard hitting.

Below is a brief history of the game and how Beecroft Rugby Club is adding to the fabric of this competition.

Under 85 kg Rugby has been played in New Zealand for over twelve (12) years and it is in fact the fastest growing team sport in that country. Played in the full fifteen (15) a side format, it offers much more than the game’s Sevens or Ten a side hybrid games and has caught on, as such, with some Asian countries. Not having huge, slow players taking their toll on smaller opposition and then in turn slowing the game down, due to their lack of overall speed around the park, it allows for a fast, tough spectacle, full of running rugby at it’s free flowing best.

In recent times two international tournaments have been held in Thailand and one in New Zealand with Australia represented by the “Trim ‘Tahs”. Although coached and administered by the N.S.W. Suburban Rugby Union, the side had a deal of backing from the N.S.W. Rugby Union and was made up of mostly Sydney grade players with only a hand full of players coming from the Subbies’ ranks. Incidentally, the boys in sky blue won all three (3) tournaments going through undefeated.

The game of Under 85 kg has been played in Australia for 4 years, with a Sydney based competition of about 10 clubs, playing mid week fixtures, under lights. Although open to all clubs the majority of teams come from Suburban Rugby clubs with the standard of play very willing but varying greatly.

The first tournament in Bangkok was played in 2005, before any local Sydney based competition was played and so the squad was, by and large, made up of players known to the selectors.

When the first local competition was initially mooted in 2006, Beecroft entered a team and took out the initial trophy defeating Mosman in the Final by 13 points to 10. Six (6) of the Trim ‘Tahs squad selected to tour Thailand that year were from the Suburban Rugby clubs including one member from Beecroft, the captain and tight head prop, Levi Broughton-Rouse.

This initial local competition of the inaugural Under 85 kg competition proved a great success and following on from this success a competition on similar lines was introduced in 2007. Beecroft entered this 2007 Competition and unfortunately did not enjoy the success of the previous year and went down in the final to Mosman, 0 – 3 but had four (4) players in the form of Levi Broughton-Rouse, Dean Berkhout, Dylan Schofield and Anthony Dwyer selected to tour with the “Trim ‘Tahs” to New Zealand later that year.

The local Under 85 kg competition was here to stay following the success of the competition in the two previous years and 2008 again saw Beecroft enter a team into that years competition. The club enjoyed a clean sweep in the preliminary rounds of the competition and again faced its old nemesis in Mosman in the Final. In this years final the tables were reversed and Beecroft came out on top and held the title of Under 85 kg competition title holders again, with a fine 14 – 0 victory. This was a great result for the club, which saw it, go through undefeated, having only five (5) points scored against them all season. No representative squad or team was selected to tour that year due to a lack of financial backing or will by those in charge of the effort.

Early in 2009, the New Zealand Barbarians, (who have taken on the role of running their countries’ Under 85 kg competition), contacted N.S.W. Suburban Rugby Union to see if a couple of games could be arranged for their representative squad. Alas, it was considered too hard or costly to arrange and so the Kiwis were left with no one to play. A plea on the internet through the N.S.W. Suburban Rugby Union sought clubs who could give the tourists a match. Dee Why Rugby Club and Beecroft Rugby Club were the only clubs to take up the challenge to play the mighty New Zealand Barbarians Under 85 kg team.

The Dee Why team played the initial match against the might of the New Zealand Barbarians team and after putting up a very brave showing ended up going down quite convincingly to the Baa Baa’s.

Beecroft played the Baa Baa’s in the second match of their Australian tour and proved to be a much tougher opponent going to an early lead and hanging on to that lead until the final two minutes of the match before a well planed move by the Kiwi lads, involving two dummy runners had the visitors going over the goal line, out wide, to take a three point lead. For the remainder of the game, Beecroft hammered the Kiwi line, but could not crack the Baa Baa’s tight defence. Then, when deep into injury time a long-range penalty was awarded to Beecroft; the referee indicating it would be the last play of the game. The penalty kick, had it been successful, would have tied up the game, however, missing by inches, it left Beecroft adrift, 14 to 17.

The New Zealand players were all very relieved to get out of gaol, as the game was expected to be another “walk in the park” for such a mighty and powerful team. The New Zealand Barbarian team management, who were also breathing a sigh of relief were high in their praise of the Beecroft Rugby Club team, and one could sense, a bit surprised by the skill level and determination of the local lads.

After match speeches spoke glowingly of the game and above all the manner and spirit in which it had been played, plaques and ties were swapped, and a bond of friendship through Rugby was forged.
No doubt these pleasantries and relaxed formalities were the catalyst which has now seen an invitation, direct from the New Zealand Barbarians, to Beecroft Rugby Club, offering a return fixture to be played in Auckland on Saturday 3rd April 2010, (Easter Saturday), along with a mid week game on the Wednesday, March 31st versus a provincial side. Beecroft has duly accepted the invitation and is in the process of selecting a squad and putting a tour together for both players and supporters.

As the main fixture on the 3rd April will be against a full New Zealand Barbarian team there is the very real possibility it will be played on Eden Park as a preliminary game to the Auckland Blues v Blue Bulls (Sth. Africa) Super 14 game. This game will be a truly momentous occasion for the Beecroft Rugby Club and will no doubt be a highlight for all those players who take part. Such an historic event will see our young club achieve recognition and a status far beyond our mere 11 years.

Please click here to the invitational letter from the New Zealand Barbarians Rugby Football Club.

Steve Broughton-Rouse.
Club Coach