Local Schools Compete in Rugby 7s at the UWA Western Force Cup Gala Days

Fri, Feb 23, 2024, 6:48 AM
Rugby WA Media
by Rugby WA Media

Last week saw high schoolers from around the Perth Metropolitan area compete in the UWA Western Force Cup, with the Northern Gala Day on Tuesday February 20, and the Southern Gala Day on Thursday February 22. 


The UWA Western Force Cup is a Western Australian public school rugby competition, with 8 schools from across Perth competing in rugby 7s. The competition aims to develop, promote and coordinate rugby union as a safe and rewarding sport to all high school aged participants. Run in collaboration with Western Force, the University of Western Australia and RugbyWA, and made possible through the support of Dr Andrew Forrest AO and Nicola Forrest AO, the competition is a safe, enjoyable introduction to rugby. 

Students in Years 8 through to Year 11 competed in a round robin style tournament in teams of 7, including 4 women’s teams and 1 mixed team. The first round of the competition kicked off with the Northern Hub playing at Wanneroo Rugby Club on Tuesday 20th February, and the Southern Hub playing at Thornlie Senior High School on Thursday 22nd February. 

RugbyWA’s Schools Competitons Lead, Nephi Baker, reflected that running competitions such as this are important for the development and growth of rugby within schools across the state. 

“It’s important to keep kids playing rugby all year round, to help them play rugby more, and get ready for their club season. 

 It gives them a chance to get into rugby from other ways, as well – if they don’t play club, they have other opportunities to play, like through their schools, which helps lead them into rugby.” 


Schools competing in the Northern Hub on Tuesday included Aranmore Catholic College, Shenton College, Joseph Banks Secondary College, John XXIII College, and Aveley Secondary College. Eighteen teams were present from across the five schools, with eight teams in Years 8/9, eight from Years 11/12, and two girl's teams from Years 8/9/10/11. 

Aveley Secondary College student, Kyle, appreciated the opportunity for his school to compete in the Cup competition again this year, after missing last year’s tournament. 

“We competed two years ago, but we didn’t have enough numbers for the next year, and today we’re only playing with seven and no subs, but we’re stronger than we were two years ago. 

“My favourite thing about playing rugby is just the sport itself. It’s fun to go out there, run with the ball. We’re all friends on the field.” 

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The Southern Hub, which played on Thursday February 22, saw King’s College, Mother Teresa Catholic College, and the competition hosts, Thornlie Senior High School, competing against one another, with eight teams total, including two girls teams. 

Teacher and coach, Joseph Clays, is currently a member of Southern Lions Rugby Union Football Club and worked as a Development Officer for NSW Rugby and Rugby Union SA before joining King’s College. Clays enjoyed having the chance to get his students involved in the game. 

“Events like this are probably one of the most important things they can get out of their schooling because they don’t often get an opportunity to be successful in other areas of school.  

“Rugby allows them to experience a bit of comradery, a little bit of physical effort and a team atmosphere that lets them to feel like they are part of something that they can be successful at.” 

The opportunity to take part in the event gave a chance for Clays to share his love of the game and give his students a chance to flourish. 

“I’ve got a lot of love for these sorts of opportunities for the kids, especially at the introductory, grassroots levels. 

“Today we’re just about experiencing a lot of the basics - catching, passing, running. Just having a bit of fun where they can. 

“Rugby has a lot to offer the community, and the world, in terms of opportunity for everybody. It’s one of those things where everyone has a role they can be successful in and contribute to that team and contribute to that oneness as a whole.” 


For the students competing at the Southern Hub, they looked forward to the chance to play the game. For Mother Teresa Catholic College students, Anthony, Archer, Seth and Tyler, they unanimously agreed thattackling and scroing tries was their favourite part of playing in the tournament. 

“We’re looking forward to trying to get a win,” Anthony said. “The best part is really just getting to play rugby while we’re at school.” 

For Tyler, he saw added opportunities for being involved in his school’s rugby team. “There’s the potential of getting a scholarship, to go further,” he said.  


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The UWA Western Force Cup also gave local girls the opportunity to shine on the pitch, with four girls teams competing across the two days. For the team at Thornlie Senior High School, the Cup was an opportunity to show off their skills. 

“We love playing hard out there, and having fun,” team member Jarday reflected. “It’s fun putting on a show for everyone.” 

“Our favourite part of playing rugby is getting your emotions out on the field and getting the chance to make new friends.” 

For her teammates, Charlie, Chloe, Kalera, Nirvaya, Kobe and Isariah, the best part of the game was having a win. “And the uniform,” Charlie shared. 


Aranmore Catholic College coach, Taimania Tipene-Grace, says the game has grown and developed massively for girls since she was a student. 

“Over the last couple of years, Aranmore’s rugby program for the girls has gotten huge, compared to what it was at the start. We started seven years ago with about four girls in the class, now we have over 30 girls involved. 

“It’s important to have competitions like this so we can grow our game, get our girls down here to play some rugby.  

“They love coming down here. They love getting a day of playing rugby – I don’t think we get enough rugby in Perth, especially for the kids to play with each other. It’s good to have this day for everyone to come together and play together and have a good day, and get our kids exposed to more rugby.” 


All teams from the Northern and Southern Hubs will compete in the final on March 20 at the University of Western Australia.  

The UWA Western Force Cup 10s will kick off for Term 2 in May. 


For more information, and to get your school involved in the UWA Western Force Cup, please contact Schools Competition Lead, Nephi Baker (nephi.baker@rugbywa.com.au). 


To find your local club and get involved in rugby union in Western Australia, visit wa.rugby/find-a-club or contact community@rugbywa.com.au.