NSW Schools: GPS claim underdog status ahead of CAS clash on Tuesday

GPS I coach Greg Thompson believes his side will start as underdogs in Tuesday evening’s annual representative clash against CAS. 

While GPS have traditionally dominated the fixture, that doubles as a selection trial for the NSW Schoolboy teams, CAS has won the previous two clashes over their rivals. 

“CAS came out and gave it to the GPS boys in the last two clashes so we’re hoping to turn that around this year, but based on form, you’d have to say we’re the underdogs,” Thompson told Rugby News. 

“It’s a new squad and we’ve got a new coaching group this year as well, so it’s difficult to look too much at those past losses. 

“In saying that though, there’s generally a sense that the CAS boys have been really up for this match over the last few years and we’ll need to match their intensity to give ourselves a shot.”

Four GPS representative sides were selected following the completion of round two over the weekend, with Joeys and Scots both rewarded for their undefeated starts to the season. 

Six players from Joeys and four from Scots make up the majority of the squad, while Riverview and Newington earned two selections each and Kings one. 

Thompson, who coaches Joeys, is hopeful that combinations and experience will help his side considering their limited preparation. 

“Nick Chan at inside centre is playing his third season for GPS and it’s great to see him get a run in firsts, then there’s a few others returning from last year, so they’ll know what to expect,” the coach said 

“It helps knowing that our 10,12 and 13 (Joeys) all know how to play alongside one another, then in the forwards we’ve got a few Scots boys who are part of a big strong pack.”

Despite that, Thompson said that simple rugby would still be the focus at Knox on Tuesday evening. 

“It looks as though it’s going to be pretty wet so we’re going to have to try and simplify things as much as we can so the boys can show their talents. 

“We’ve got a very good back three, so it would be nice to get them some ball because we’ve got plenty of speed out wide. 

“To be honest, it’ll probably come down to who plays best to the conditions though, given both squads have such a limited preparation. 

“We would have only had two sessions together by the time we play on Tuesday, so we’ll keep it fairly simple and rely on the boys to take their opportunities when they come.”

GPS White and GPS Blue will play at 3:15pm at Knox on Tuesday, with GPS II v CAS II at 4:45pm and GPS I v CAS I at 6:15pm. 

The NSW Schools teams to play at the Australian Schools Championships will be selected following the final day of trials on Friday.