Coach Dave Nicol (rear) predicts emerging rugby stars (from left) Declan Leaney, Angus Hickey and Cooper Taeketa are chips off the old sporting block.
Coach Dave Nicol (rear) predicts emerging rugby stars (from left) Declan Leaney, Angus Hickey and Cooper Taeketa are chips off the old sporting block. Rob Wright

Three rugby amigos outdoing their sporting dads

PEDIGREE is no guarantee of sporting success.

Many sons and daughters of famous athletes have proved total duffers upon taking the playing field but on Coffs Coast rugby grounds, that concept is being shattered by three talented tyros.

Declan Leaney (son of Darren), Cooper Taeketa (son of Wayne) and Angus (son of the late Jason) have been selected in the NSW Country Junior Cockatoos under-14 squad.

Their dads had great sporting success in a variety of disciplines including both rugby codes, cricket, surfing and golf .

However, SCU Marlins coach (and Country selector) Dave Nicol tips the boys are on the springboard to great careers in the 15-a-side game.

"They are just at the stage where the ability to go on with it starts to show out and whatever they learn as rep players this year, they are going to be all the better for it when moving up to the next stage," he said.

"They are good kids who are willing to listen and learn and that stands them out."

Nicol said having three players emerge from the same coastal zone is a remarkable feat.

"We might get one or two from the coast making a rep team every now and then but they generally come from the inland clubs where there isn't much else apart from play rugby to keep warm in winter," he said.

"Having them in the squad means all that hard work in developing junior rugby is paying off."

Nicol has been a passionate driving force to create the under-16 competition linked to the senior clubs and is thrilled at its successful maiden season.

He believes Declan, Cooper and Angus will be able to pass on so much experience to team mates when they step up to that grade, thanks to their current representative learning.

The Junior Cockatoos begin the 2013 campaign with a hit-out against Sydney club Gordon on the Central Coast before heading to Canberra in July to play a championship match against ACT.

The program ends in October, meaning they get to see plenty of the countryside.



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