Bears earn prestigious junior rugby honour
TOOWOOMBA Bears have done the Darling Downs proud at one of Australia's most prestigious junior rugby union carnivals.
Bears returned from this year's The Armidale School Rugby Carnival with the Zoo Team of the Carnival award presented each year to the team displaying outstanding performance and sportsmanship on, and off, the field.
The boys were presented with the award by Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
The sportsmanship award winner is judged by fellow teams and officials and was part of a successful carnival for Bears which included three wins from their five weekend matches.
The Armidale School Rugby Carnival is the largest under 12s rugby carnival held in Australia.
Each year it attracts more than 1000 players and their coaches, along with families and supporters.
Visiting teams attend from the Sunshine Coast to the NSW Southern Highlands.
Bears' coach Jon Loane said the spirit of the carnival recognition was a huge honour, made more special by the significance of the event.
"It's a massive carnival that signifies the end of the boys' junior playing days before they graduate to teenage rugby,” Loane said.
"The carnival is restricted to 50 clubs from around Australia fortunate enough to be invited each year.
"The competing clubs come from as far away as Western Australia.
"Each team plays five games, with four on Saturday and a final on the Sunday.
"We won three of our five games including our final victory over Sunshine Coast Grammar.
"But for the boys to be also named the spirit of the carnival winner is a huge achievement and one they can all be proud of.
"The award is judged by other competing teams and officials on who they consider displayed outstanding sportsmanship over the weekend.
"Bears won the respect of everyone with their spirit and the way they punched above their weight throughout the carnival.
"To be presented with the award by Michael Cheika was a big moment for everyone.”