Australian Schools: Young guns’ impressive efforts once again prove Combined States’ value

By Matt Findlay; Photo: Paul Seiser/SPA Images Combined States might have been eliminated from the Australian Schools Championship title race in Thursday’s semi-final against Queensland I, but there’s no denying the young stars have once again proven the value of the composite side. Along with giving identified players from states that don’t have stand-alone sides like South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory along the chance to shine, the Combined States outfit also provides an opportunity for younger players from the bigger states to gain much-needed exposure and experience. NSW I five-eighth Jude Gibbs is a good example, he played for Combined States last year and the experience he gained was a huge boost to his state selection bid this year. Of this year’s Combined States group there’s few, if any, better examples than hooker Digby Cooper, who didn’t even think he’d be in his school’s first XV in 2019, let alone playing for NSW ISA and then a