KING OF THE KIDS: Waratahs development officer Garry Wilson fires up his players during a friendly clash between teams at the Hay St rugby fields.
KING OF THE KIDS: Waratahs development officer Garry Wilson fires up his players during a friendly clash between teams at the Hay St rugby fields. Matthew Elkerton

Future Waratahs on show in the Valley

RUGBY UNION: The future of the NSW Waratahs might have been uncovered on a South Grafton rugby field this week after the club brought its Camp Waratahs holiday camp to the Clarence Valley.

Almost 40 schoolchildren descended on the Hay St rugby fields on Wednesday to learn how to "train like a 'Tah'”.

Kids were put through coaching drills endorsed by Waratahs coach Darryl Gibson and high performance manager Matt Everard before then putting those lessons into action with friendly games of rugby to close out the day.

But it was a special visit from Waratahs superhero TahMan that put the smiles on faces.

NSW Rugby North Coast development officer Tom Davidson, who ran the camp, said it was a great opportunity to deliver high-quality coaching to children in the bush.

"We really enjoy bringing (the camps) to the regional communities,” he said. "We try and move them around as much as we can and get to as many kids as we possibly can.

"We want to give the kids the experience of what it is like to be coached by a Waratah. The catchphrase for the day is 'train like a Waratah'.”

While the Grafton Redmen junior rugby club accounted for most of the participants, there were also players from Lismore, Bangalow, Wollongbar and as far south as Dorrigo.

For a few of the children it was their introduction to the sport and Davidson said there was a visible growth in skills.

"We are lucky enough to have a bit of exposure to these kids before the camps and just seeing the improvement they make over the day is amazing,” he said.

"It is great watching them implement the lessons they have learnt in the games.”

With Clarence Valley juniors Jed Holloway and Cody Walker among the Waratahs squad this season, Davidson said there was a recognisable path from the North Coast to the top level.

And with the level of talent on show, there could be a few more in the works.



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