Darling Downs representative fixtures are well and truly under way, with a revised format in 2019 for the under 19 Colts and Senior men in the Tier One Queensland Country Rugby Union Championships, moving from the traditional mid-year to immediately after the Wagners Risdon Cup grand final.
After a first-week bye with Downs Rugby's grand final on Saturday August 31, the first matches were hosted at Palm Beach Rugby Club against the Gold Coast Cyclones. Downs Rugby Colts impressed with a 39-5 victory, and Downs Seniors also won 34-10.
A week later there was a full weekend of Downs Rugby representative rugby at Ballymore Stadium for the Colts, Seniors and Open Women's Sevens players. On Saturday September 7, the Downs Colts won 26-7 over Townsville, while the Downs Seniors went down 26-7.
An interesting feature of the Seniors match was brothers going head-to-head: Tom Vinson playing for Townsville Brolgas against younger brother John Vinson for Downs Rugby, and during the year playing for Gatton Blackpigs.
On Sunday September 8, the Downs Rugby Seniors triumphed in a close 22-17 win over Cairns/FNQ, and Downs Rugby Colts won 36-10 over Cairns/FNQ.
The Downs Rugby Open Women's Sevens side performed extremely well to proceed to the final at Ballymore against Sunshine Coast Stingrays, only to concede a try in the last minute after an unfortunate injury for Downs, losing 12-7. Downs Open Women's Sevens side is training hard towards the Noosa Rugby 7s tournament on November 8-9.
Last weekend, Saturday September 14, Downs Rugby had its sole home representative fixture at Gold Park against the Sunshine Coast Stingrays. Downs Rugby Colts and the Stingray Colts, both unbeaten in their respective representative campaigns, clashed with Luke Morris scoring a try and Mal Grealy converting and scoring a penalty goal, however the Stingrays physically tired the Downs side, winning 31-10. The Queensland Country coach was there and commented that Downs Rugby will be "well represented" for the Qld Country Colts upcoming tour.
The Senior Downs Rugby side then played the Stingrays in a very entertaining and close match. Tries were scored by Sam Jobling, Lachie Wayde and Will Jackson. The scores were locked up 19-all, only for a Stingrays try in the last minutes to give the Stingrays a 26-19 victory.
Once again, it is confirmed that there will be good Downs Rugby representation when the Queensland Country Blue Heelers team is selected for the South Australia tour, to play against other states in the 'NRC-2'.
Downs Rugby Under 15 and Under 17 Youth Girls Sevens side have been playing in five rounds of the Qld Academy of Sport (QAS) 7s, and next week play in the 2019 Queensland Rugby Union Girls 7s Junior State Championships: September 26-27 at Bond University, Robina.
The year is not complete, as the South West Sevens for under 13,15, and open school boys and girls starts on October 15.
In 2020, Downs Rugby once again hosts the Queensland Rugby Union Teenage Boys State Championships at Downlands College in the winter school holidays in July.
Downs Rugby Limited's chairman, Mike Horan, and the board of directors would like to thank all representatives, coaches, volunteers, and all affiliated clubs in our vast region, for what has been a most successful and enjoyable year.
Follow the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup opener v Fiji this Saturday September 21 from 2.45pm.