BALLARAT has announced itself as a heavyweight in Victorian rugby circles after the St Patrick’s Old Collegians team won a Geelong Country Rugby Sevens tournament final on the weekend.
Played as a curtain-raiser to the Melbourne Rebels trial game at Simonds Stadium on Saturday, the competition featured seven teams competing in a round-robin format, with Ballarat’s side triumphing over Melton 33-5 in the plate final.
Meanwhile, Geelong won the cup final over last year’s champion Shepparton.
Other competing teams included Mildura, Robinvale and Warrnambool.
St Patrick’s Old Collegians president Luke Miller said the result had done wonders for an already much-improved Ballarat rugby team.
“This is probably the first real title event that a Ballarat team has won for about 10 years,” he said.
“Since then I’ve already had people ring me up and come down to training and we’re looking at trying to implement a women’s rugby team in the future.”
Ballarat had a successful season in Country Victoria’s third division last year, eventually bowing out in the semi-finals, but Miller is hoping the team will be promoted to Melbourne’s second division for the 2014 season. “We’re hoping we can be put up into Melbourne’s division two level – and I’m fairly confident that we will be,” he said.
“We’re a second-division team but we were the closest to Geelong, which is a first-division side, and we annihilated last year’s division two premiers Melton.
“We’re at a completely different level now; we have a new assistant coach in Lance Sutton, who has extensive rugby history in New Zealand and Queensland, a UK player by the name of Mike Lachia, who was instrumental on the weekend and Chris Debono, who was part of the Melbourne Rebels’ pre-season squad.”