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Rugby gets serious about RAP

The Brumbies are sending out scouts to find players to join two newly formed Indigenous training squads in the ACT.

The men’s and women’s teams will train together, take part in activities to bolster their understanding of their culture and there’s also plans to line-up some invitational matches.

Tim Cornforth has been named coach of the squads, and he says they’re starting to take shape.

“We’re looking not only in Canberra, but also around the region, to find people keen to play,” Cornforth said.

“It’s about sharing this great game with indigenous communities and trying to use rugby to build family, that’s what rugby is, family,” he said.

Head of community rugby Craig Leseberg said it’s part of the club’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

“Indigenous round is a great way to bring these issues to the fan’s attention, but there’s a lot of work to do and we’re still learning,” Leseberg said.

“The club recognises its place as a leader in the community. We want to give more opportunities to indigenous people through education and job opportunities. And there will be some opportunities coming up.”

Cornforth is hoping to get the teams together before the end of the Super Rugby season and he wants to find a couple of games for the teams to play in by the end of the year.

Leseberg said it’s a great initiative, but the club still has a long way to go to fully realise its RAP, which was written in 2017 and released at the beginning of last year.

Cornforth made a name for himself in local rugby in Canberra, after turning around a three-year win drought for Easts Rugby Club in 2018. He credits a shift in culture at the club, to help the players realise there’s more to life than rugby.

He said he hopes to bring the same culture to the Indigenous teams.

By Keiran Deck

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