HE may have missed out on playing in the Australian Schoolboys Championship decider last week, but Saint Stanislaus’ College talent Bo Abra got a pretty good consolation.
The loose head prop was named in the Australian Schoolboys squad which will take on teams from Fiji and New Zealand later this year.
A Tamworth native, Abra lined up in the front row for NSW I at the annual rugby union tournament at Saint Ignatius College, Riverview in Sydney.
Having impressed enough at the 2016 edition to earn a place in the Australian Barbarians team, Abra was once again keen to lead by example.
His side looked on track to reach the final heading into the last day of pool matches, but from there things did not play out as Abra and his NSW I team-mates would have hoped.
Taking on Queensland II, Abra gave his side the lead when he drove over the line on NSW I’s first venture inside his rivals’ 22.
NSW led 15-12 at half-time and as the game entered the final 10 minutes, held a slender one-point buffer.
But with five minutes to go, Queensland II was awarded a penalty 25 metres out in front of the posts. They slotted the resulting kick to win 27-25 and advanced to the final ahead of NSW I thanks to that upset result.
Instead of playing for the national title, Abra and his team-mates met Queensland I in Saturday’s third-place playoff.
Once again it was a hard-fought and close match and once again Abra’s side was on the wrong side of the scoreline, going down 29-24.
It was a tense finish as NSW, who had scored first, pressured for a fifth try well after the 80th minute. But despite stringing together a number of phases, Queensland I held on to take third place.
There was better news for Abra when the Australian Schoolboys 20-player squad was named later that afternoon. It will be trimmed before October’s representative games.
“In terms of Australian Schoolboys selections, it was great to see players and teams improve throughout the tournament, and although both Queensland I and NSW I both experienced some disappointment in their results, we saw players improve from those disappointments and really show their potential,” Australian Schoolboys head coach Pat Langtry said.
“With the upcoming games against Fiji Schools and New Zealand Schools, we know they will be up to the mark in all components of the game and will threaten in all components of the game, so we’ll have to have a good preparation and planning period to match them.”