Rats will be in sevens heaven
That's been the cry from Southern Cross University X-Rats co-ordinator Dave Graham as more than 100 former Uni rugby players converge on the Byron Bay Sevens this weekend for a reunion.
Henry Vanderglas, an environmental science graduate of SCU, is the Australian Sevens rugby captain and Super 14 contracted player with the Brumbies who was expected to lead a star-studded X-Rats squad at Byron assembled by former Gold Rats player Darren Coleman.
Coleman is now the coach of the Brumbies Academy and has enticed seven Academy players and Vanderglas to the Sevens under the X-Rats name, however there is only one problem.
It's believed Vanderglas has left the country and it's not known if he will return in time for the tournament.
“We're not 100 pre cent sure if he will be playing with us or not,” chuckled Graham yesterday.
“If he doesn't, he will be with us in spirit.”
Either way, the X-Rats, or Old Boys, side will be formidable as the seven Brumbies Academy players are also Australian Sevens squad members.
The side will also include three current SCU first graders and with Australian Sevens coach Michael O'Connor attending the tournament to scope the talent, you can bet matches will be taken seriously.
Interestingly, former Mullumbimby athlete, and Australian 400m runner Kurt Mulcahy, who ran in the World Championships, has been included in the squad since swapping from athletics to rugby union.
The X-Rats will also enter a social team in the 32-team draw, but most of the attention of the reunion-goers will be focused on the ring-in team.
“Basically we decided to have reunion because it's the 20th year of the Byron Sevens and the 15th year since the X-Rats have been playing there,” he said.
“In the early days of Byron we were pretty competitive and used to give things a shake so as part of the celebrations and reunion we thought we would give the tournament a crack.
“We were also lucky that a recent graduate, Henry, was part of the Australian Sevens team and Darren Coleman is the Brumbies Academy coach who could secure the services of some elite players to help give us a side.
“We're pretty happy with the pool we're in (Decepticons, MOB, Central Hurricanes) so we should be in the top division come Sunday and from there anything can happen in Sevens rugby.”
The reunion, which has been backed by SCU, will include a golf day on Friday, a marquee at the Sevens and a dinner at the University on Saturday night.
Former Wallaby second-rower and Gold Rat, Justin Harrison, will also be in attendance after ending his playing career with Bath in the United Kingdom as will X-Rat and referee Brett Bowden.
“Justin will be there and be one of the guest speakers at the dinner on Saturday night and so will Brett Bowden who refereed at Super 14 and International level,” Graham said.
“He played in the mid-80s with the team and will probably be blowing the pea at the Sevens as well.”
Tickets are still available for any former players who wish to attend the reunion dinner. Contact Dave Graham on 0410 645 074.