The rivalry between the Orange City Lions and Orange Emus is strong, always has been, but just for this weekend 12 youngsters from the two clubs will throw it out the window and combine in a bid to bring the 2017 Parkes Junior Rugby Sevens title back to the colour city.
Coached by Stu Shannon and Grant Bryan, six young guns from each club’s under 11s sides have combined forces for this weekend’s carnival, doing so under the banner of Orange Barbarians.
They’ve been training together for a fortnight leading into this weekend’s gala day, where the Barbarians will square-off with the likes of Wellington, Camden, Canberra Vikings, Lindfield and the junior Boars.
“They’ve come together really well, the first training we had the Emus and City boys did sort of stare at each other for a while but they got over that pretty quickly,” Shannon laughed.
“A lot of these guys play for City and Emus to play with their mates, which is what it’s all about, but when the flyer came out a few people started chatting and we sort of though why not throw an invitational side together.
“These kids think it’s great, all the kids we asked said yes straight away and they’ve become good mates. I’m sure they’ll stay good mates after this too.”
Shannon says the side – made up of City’s Olly Bennie, Hayden Buesnel, Zac Shannon, Koby Bryan, Temana Te Rupe and Hugh Payne along with Emus’ Oliver Chandler-Sullivan, Paddy Toberty, Gus Tremain, Gus Cornish, Tama Nixon and Danial Vaotangi – has plenty of ability, and could prove to be contenders.
“We’d certainly like to think these guys can contend, Grant has had plenty of experience with sevens in Sydney so the boys are learning from a good coach,” Shannon said.
“We’ve chosen a lot of quicker guys, there’s a few guys who do very well on the representative scene of athletics. We’ll have a lot of speed, which is good for sevens, so who knows.
“Win, loss or draw it’ll be great experience for the guys and it’s something different.”
It’s though to be the first time the two clubs have combined in a sevens side, giving the players a chance to be a part of history.
“That’s a great aspect, both clubs’ presidents and all the parents are really behind it as well,” Shannon said.
“It’s a good way to get them involved in sevens too, which is becoming really popular.”
The Barbarians start their campaign against the junior Boars on Saturday, from 9.40am. The finals will be held on Sunday afternoon.