They came from all over the Central West, from Grenfell to Mudgee, to duke it out under a persistent summer sun for the chance to play at Allianz Stadium during a Waratahs home game.
Twelve schools took part in the NSW Rugby Primary Schools Sevens Regional Gala Day – the Peter Nuwgent Shield – at Endevour Oval on Tuesday, with St Mary’s Dubbo the eventual winners, taking the crown in the grand final with five tries to one against Assumption Catholic School from Bathurst.
About 20 games were played over the day as the schools were divided into four pools of three, where Orange schools performed exceptionally well.
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School and Catherine McCauley Catholic Primary School both finished on top of their pools to progress to the semi finals.
However, both sides fell short in the semi, leaving Assumption and St Mary’s Dubbo to play off in the final.
The two schools also qualified to play at a Waratahs home game on May 19, as well as the state championships later on during the year.
Orange Public School finished in second in their pool.
NSW Rugby development officer Jarrod Simpson said it was a good day of sport.
“It was really good rugby played in hot weather and the skills and sportsmanship were fantastic,” he said.
“Skill level of the kids is continuously improving and the more and more exposure they get the more they grow their skills.
“These events expose them to different ways of playing, some teams will lock down and some will run wide and it exposes them to different types of rugby.”
Most of the students were in year six, with a mix of year five students also taking part – although Dubbo Public School was nearly entirely year fives, with Simpson warning they would be the team to beat next year.
However, the spirit of the game was the focus.
“They all had a ball and really enjoyed their day and were all shaking hands at the end,” Simpson said.