YouTube uncovers future rugby star
FOR those who doubt the power of technology, just ask 18-year-old Andrew Ramsden how it changed his life this year.
A YouTube video paved the way for the Sunshine Coast Grammar graduate to play his first international rugby match, for the Philippines at a sevens Olympic qualifier in Hong Kong.
"A family friend showed the Philippines squad my videos and they liked what they saw," he said.
"They were going to get me over early for a trial, but they took a big chance and selected me."
Having started playing rugby in Canberra as a six-year-old, Ramsden has loved the game ever since.
He was the star player in Grammar's undefeated first XV campaign earlier this year - they made it all the way to the Ballymore Cup final in Brisbane - and was named in Grammar's team of the decade (2004-15).
That was an achievement both he and his family were very proud of, but there was no prouder moment than representing the country of his heritage.
"We were standing in the tunnel (before running out) for about 30 seconds," he said.
"At that stage the crowd was about 7000 ... I was really nervous but tried to remain confident.
"I knew Mum and Dad would be watching the live stream at home."
Ramsden said the pace of international rugby, albeit an Asian qualifier, was something he could not prepare for.
"I was expecting it to be fast, but I wasn't truly ready for how quick it was," he said.
The Philippines finished seventh in the tournament, meaning they failed to qualify for the Rio Games.
But Ramsden will play with the side again in February as it aims to requalify for the top Asian group, before returning to Australia and linking up with a club in Brisbane.
"I'm in talks with a few clubs in Brisbane, but it all depends on where I end up for University," Ramsden said.
The teen thanked his parents for driving him to training sessions throughout the year, as well as Sunshine Coast Rugby's Ian Brown and Sunshine Coast Grammar's first XV coach, Dan Robotham.