THREE of Shoalhaven’s top rugby prospects, Ruari von Prott and sisters Molly and Tessa Good, have played key roles in NSW Country under 17s women’s side success at the recent Country Championships.
Von Prott, from Nowra Hill and the Good sisters, from Kangaroo Valley helped the inaugural Cockatoos defeat their City rivals 27-15 at Bathurst’s Ashwood Park.
“This is an awesome step up for the girls, with the core of the team coming from the Illawarra,” Ruari von Prott’s mother Kim said.
“When you put it into perspective, there is little opportunity for the girls outside of Sydney to have regular access to game time and coaching.
“These girls are all keen rugby enthusiasts and have proven themselves to be well and truly a cut above any of the opposition they have faced so far.
“The only competition available to the girls is a 7-a-side competition that is more about teaching rugby than it is about serious competition.
“There is no 15-a-side competition available for girls under 18 in Country NSW.”
The girl’s success comes on the back of months of hard work, which included NSW Country trials in Nelsons Bay, representative matches and two NSW Country training sessions.
“Each country rugby district in NSW was invited to send a squad of girls to Nelsons Bay to play 10-a-side rugby union,” Kim von Prott said.
“This meet was held on the same weekend as the boy’s country selection trials – the boys however, fielded teams of 15.
“The Illawarra team consisted of the Illawarra Academy of Sport (IAS) girls rugby 7s team with the addition of a few extra girls from the Illawarra.
“This IAS team played in an inter-academy competition earlier in the year, who not only won the tournament but were undefeated for the competition and only conceded one try.
“This team formed the core of the Illawarra 10-a-side team - who won the 10s tournament undefeated and again, only conceded one try.
“This 10s team then formed the body of the country girls 15s team, with nine Illawarra girls selected.
“Having the core of the Illawarra team selected come from the one region certainly set the girls up for success.
“As the girls were drawn from across NSW, it was difficult to get together to train and get to know each others strengths and weaknesses.”
This continued success should bode well for Nowra Christian School’s von Prott and Chevalier College’s Good sisters, as well as the future of women’s rugby union.
“This is an awesome step for women’s rugby,” Kim von Prott said.
“The ARU and Rugby NSW are taking steps to roll out women’s rugby, however there is still a long way to go to give it the structure and recognition it deserves.
“I know there are a number of women in the Shoalhaven who are interested in playing rugby, especially if the structures are in place
“Hopefully this will inspire the local rugby club to actively promote a girls team/competition as part of next seasons Illawarra fixtures.
“Ruari is the first female from the Shoalhaven Rugby Club to be selected for Country representative honours.
“Ruari played rugby with Shoals until the age of 12 and until this year, she has not been able to access any club rugby as there has been nothing available for girls between the ages of 12 and 18.”
The trio will next head to Canberra on Sunday, August 13 for a match against the ACT, before kicking-off their rugby 7s season, with tournaments played on both Bowral and Narrabeen.
Other results from Sunday’s clashes at Bathurst include; Shoals’ Zebb Maddison’s under 15 boys lose 40-7 to City, as City also won the under 14 boys (46-10) and under 16 boys (17-12).
The only other age group Country won was the under 17s boys, defeating City 36-33.
Under 17s women’s squad: Tia Cook, Stephanie Ball, Koniseti Tinao, Leilani Nathan, Chantelle Leatigaga, Nicole Nathan, Charlotte Haling, Emma Bradford, Ruari von Prott, Phoebe McLoughlin, Jorjo Holden, Lupe Ngatuvia, Maddison Weatherall, Miah O’Sullivan, Taneka Todhunter, Keeley Kopara, Molly Kennedy, Molly Good, Courtney Currie, Tessa Good, Jakiya Whitfeld, Abby Holmes and Chantae Eyre.