On 26 September, the Australian Rugby Union announced the members of the Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team’s National Indigenous Under 17s squad to tour France. They will play against Racing Metro, Cote d’Argent and Stade Toulousain.
They will also take in cultural experiences at significant First World War monuments including the Menin Gate Memorial, Perth Cemetery and the Passchendale and Somme battlefields.
The tour will include visits to the graves of Private Daniel Cooper and William Allan Irwin, who was the only Aboriginal solider to receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal in the First World War.
LMRDT executive director Tom Evans said the trip was an important mix of Rugby, culture and heritage.
“This trip is important for a number of reasons,” Evans said. “Not only do these kids get to experience international travel and international Rugby, but they get to visit some places in the world that are extremely significant historical sights. We’ll be visiting the graves of two Aboriginal soldiers while we’re there and the lessons the kids take from that will be just as important as the action on the Rugby field."
“The Lloyd McDermott Rugby Development Team is really big on combining Rugby Union and education and this trip is just another opportunity to develop these great kids we work with.”
The LMRDT Under-17 squad departs Sydney on Friday, 27 September and returns Wednesday, 10 October. Three of the 23 strong squad come from New England schools. They are:
- Damian Carriage-Watts, Macksville High School, Macksville
- Jase Long, Toorminah High School, Sawtell
- Callum Morris, The Armidale School, Armidale