JUNIOR rugby players Stuart McVicar and Jono Jones are about to head overseas on the football excursion of a lifetime.
The John Paul College students leave Australia next Thursday for a 17-day tour of Singapore and South Africa with the New South Wales Country Schools under-17 and 18-years squads, known as the ‘Heelers’.
For Jono, the tour is the culmination of an outstanding year of football which included a first grade rugby premiership with Coffs Breakers and the under-18 league title with Sawtell Panthers.
While on tour the teams will play five games against sides with a reputation for providing pretty tough opposition.
First match for the 18s will be against the United Kingdom Barbarians in Singapore and the players will be awarded traditional rugby caps before taking the field.
Another highlight will be games for both teams against Natal Youth at Kings Park, home of the Sharks in the Super 14.
During the trip the lads will visit historic rugby grounds in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, George, Capetown and Stellenbosch (and many places in between) in South Africa.
Time will be spent in Singapore taking in the sights and the African safari will include a visit to the Entabeni Game Reserve at Naboomspruit along the Limpopo River, a stop off at famous Jeffreys Bay and a trip to Cape Point Nature Reserve so the tourists can get up close and personal with a group of hand-raised cheetahs.
This party will be one of the biggest rugby groups to leave Australia with over 120 players, officials and family members making the trip.
Stuart and Jono were selected after competing at the 2009 NSW Schools Country Championships.
Players interested in gaining selection for this year’s NSW Country representative team and the 2011 development squad should make sure they try out for the Mid North Coast Schools team which will compete in the NSW Country Schools Championships in Armidale over the June long weekend.