Matt Taylor (Reds Defensive Coach) with Rhys Martin (Blackwater SHS), Robert Fuz (Moranbah SHS), Mace Hartley (Marist College, Emerald), Jarrod Morris (Moranbah SHS), Josh Johnston (Emerald SHS), Connor Jones (Emerald SHS) and Ewen McKenzie (Reds Head Coach).
Matt Taylor (Reds Defensive Coach) with Rhys Martin (Blackwater SHS), Robert Fuz (Moranbah SHS), Mace Hartley (Marist College, Emerald), Jarrod Morris (Moranbah SHS), Josh Johnston (Emerald SHS), Connor Jones (Emerald SHS) and Ewen McKenzie (Reds Head Coach).

McKenzie drills CH juniors

IT’S not every day you get to work with a Super Rugby premiership winning coach.

So when six Central Highlands rugby juniors were offered the chance to join Queensland Reds head coach Ewen McKenzie for a training session, you can understand their excitement.

Also on hand to guide the youngsters was the Reds’ defensive coach Matt Taylor.

The junior stars were among a select few chosen to represent the Capricornia region at the Queensland Under-15 Schoolboy State Championship in Rockhampton, with the one-off training session incorporated into the state competition.

Queensland Rugby Union’s Central Queensland development manager Joel Johnston said the experience would be something the players would no doubt treasure for the rest of their playing careers.

“For these players to have the opportunity to work one-on-one with Matt and Ewen is an experience of a lifetime and something they will remember for a long time. Thanks must go to Ewen and Matt for the support and time taken to deliver such a wonderful opportunity,” he said.

Johnston said the Capricornia reps could take a lot away from the Queensland carnival, not only from their invaluable coaching session from the Reds staff but also their on-ground performances through the tournament.

“It is tough for them as they only had one day’s training compared to the other regions’ more detailed preparations,” he said.

“They certainly competed well over the four days and there are a number of players that have been noticed by the ARU/QRU Talent ID staff.”

However, what was needed, Johnston said, if the Capricornia side were to improve on their eighth-placed ranking from this year, was consistency.

“The biggest improvement Capricornia teams need to make is playing with the same intensity every match,” he said.

“It’s the case every year where they have one or two bad matches through a lack of intensity.”


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