What an evening it was for rugby fans around Orange.
The NSW Waratahs were up at Wade Park on Monday for a meet and greet with any and all juniors who wanted a glimpse of the Super Rugby team.
Part of the convoy of boys in blue was Orange product Jack Grant, who joined the Tahs back in December.
"It's awesome to come back here, the boys have loved it," he said of the trip.
"It's great to be able to come to all the rural communities, because obviously I came from here and it means a lot to me to have all the boys here.
"It's awesome to run around with the kids. We were all there at some stage and I think they've had a good time and I think we've got just as much out of it as they have."
First the squad took the youngsters through a series of training drills. After about 40 minutes, they took a seat and started signing some autographs.
Waratahs co-coach Jason Gilmore was manning the barbecue for most of the evening and said the Central West was an important region for the team.
"It's a good opportunity for us to bring the boys out to the country area," he said.
"There's obviously also a lot of towns outside of Orange that put a lot of effort in with their junior and senior clubs.
"I think the boys are smiling more than the young fellas, so they're having an absolute ball."
The meet and greet was part of a three day visit to the region, which started at Kinross on Sunday before the Tahs broke off into groups on Tuesday afternoon to visit different clubs all around the region.
Team captain Jake Gordon said he really enjoyed his time in Orange.
"I think it's really important for us, being such a large state to cover a lot of teams from a lot of different areas so we don't just hang around Sydney and that we branch out and get around to these country and rural areas," he said.
"To come out here and see kids that love rugby and love the environment, mucking around with their mates and chucking the footy around reminds me of when I used to play.
"It's refreshing seeing guys with smiles on their faces."
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