Schoolboy Jack McGregor ready to take on the Kiwis
On the back of being named player of the tournament at the Australian Schools Championship earlier this year, Jack McGregor has the rugby world at his feet.
But don’t tell him that, because he won’t listen.
Showing maturity well beyond his years, the humble 18-year old played down his role in captaining NSW 1 to the national title despite doing enough to earn the competition’s highest individual honour
“I was ecstatic, it was a huge honour and privilege but obviously without the players and team around me it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told Rugby News this week.
“A lot of credit needs to go to the coaches for bringing the team together so quickly, it made it a really enjoyable week for all of us.”
McGregor clearly has a football brain and showed poise and class throughout the three-match tournament, however he knows the task will be far more difficult in upcoming Test matches against Samoa and New Zealand Schools in the coming weeks.
“As a flyhalf, I try and focus on managing and controlling the game. For me at this level, it’s not about trying to make the breaks or do the fancy stuff, it’s about settling down the team when we are under pressure or taking control of the game when we need it.
“Obviously a strong kicking game is important and you need to be solid in defence. Particularly against Samoa and New Zealand, they are going to be some big boys and I think they’ll attack that 10 channel pretty frequently so that’s going to be key,” he added.
The Australian Schools and Australian Barbarians squads go into camp next Thursday ahead of matches against Samoa and New Zealand Schools on Monday 28th September and Friday 2nd October in Brisbane.
Although McGregor admitted it was difficult not to look ahead to the clash against the Kiwis, he channeled Michael Cheika in saying the side would focus on their first match.
“I’m very keen to play both Test matches, but we have Samoa up first so that’s what we are focusing on. We want to get our structures and our plays right and put in a good performance, then get ready for the New Zealand match,” he said.
“I haven’t had a good look at New Zealand yet, but from what I’ve heard they are a big side. They are the benchmark of rugby in the world at the moment so they’ll be big and quick and have brilliant players in every position.
“It’s not really a strength or weakness type thing with them, we need to go into the game expecting them to be outstanding in every part of the game and try and not only match them but outdo them in the key areas.”
Australian Schools have beaten New Zealand Schools just nine times in 32 matches, however four of those victories have occurred in the past eight years.
Like their senior counterparts at the World Cup, McGregor is well aware of the challenge ahead, but said he thought a victory over NZ Schools may prove to be vital motivation for the Wallabies.
“Yeah I think if the guys over in the UK hear about what we are doing back here, it’ll give them a bit of a boost, but I’m sure they’ve already got plenty of that.”
McGregor will return to Chatswood to play with Gordon next season after finishing school, ignoring interest from rival clubs.
“I played eight years of juniors down at Gordon as a young bloke so to get to go back to Gordon in the senior years is really exciting and something I can’t wait to get started with,” he said.
“I’m not looking that far ahead yet, but I’ll work hard in the off-season and see where it takes me and hopefully I can get an opportunity and take it with both hands.”