FORMER Narromine product turned professional rugby union player graced Dubbo with his presence yesterday at a rugby sevens carnival aimed at under 10 and 12 players.
Pat McCutcheon, NSW Waratahs open-side flanker, returned to the region to show the up-and-coming junior rugby players how it's done.
The next installment of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Primary Schools Sevens day, took place at Victoria Park's No.2 and 3 ovals, consisted of two age divisions (under-10 and 12) with players from 20 teams.
Participating schools included St Mary's Primary School, St Laurence's Primary School, Orana Heights Public School, Dubbo South Public School, Dubbo West Public School, Dubbo Public School, Macquarie Anglican Grammar School, St Augustine's Parish School, St Mary's Catholic School, Narromine Public School and Wellington Public School.
McCutcheon, who started out playing for the Macquarie Emus Junior Rugby Union Club at 10 years old, said the ARU Primary Schools Sevens day was a great initiative by Try Rugby's Pathway to Gold program and wished there was a program like the ARU Sevens day when he was younger.
"It's important to develop skills and understand the playing of the rules," he said.
"Rugby is a game that gets them (the kids) out in the playground and onto the field. It's really important for their fitness and for them to play a sport they'll enjoy."
"With the Emus, we travelled to regional areas and played on the Sunday where you play three or four games. That was my first experience in rugby. Back then, the infrastructure wasn't in place when I started out and I think it's a really positive step.
"It's great for the community that it can now hold rugby sevens' day school competitions within the area.
"Hopefully this keeps developing their skills and development in rugby, so they can look to play it on the weekend," he said.
ARU development manager Mark De Brincat said it was great to have 'Patty', a real supporter of grassroots rugby, come to the ARU's events and camps.
"Whenever he's got free time, he's around," he said.
"He had a bye for the NSW Waratahs and took this time to come to Dubbo and support the boys. It's typical of the kind of fella he is."
He said he hoped the kids got in to the spirit of competing for their school and playing against friends they might have played with in club sports.
"It's the feeling of enjoying the camaraderie of rugby and learning some new skills representing their schools," he said.
"The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will host rugby sevens for men and women, providing plenty of incentives to get involved."
McCutcheon was part of the Australia Sevens Rugby Union team that competed in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, coming home with a silver medal.