Sport

Canberra Grammar ready to challenge St Edmund's College in ACT rugby union grand final

Long considered the "easy beats" of ACT junior rugby, Canberra Grammar School have graduated to become a real force.

Grammar will play defending champions St Edmund's College in Sunday's ACT Under 18s grand final, their second premiership decider in three years.

Having won a total of nine games in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Grammar turned it around two years ago when they claimed their maiden First XV title against Eddies, 35-33.

"I think for many years we were seen as the easy beats," Grammar head coach Connor Barrett said. 

"We have just done some hard work and tried to invest a lot of skills in the boys starting at the younger age groups, and that just takes time.

"Progress takes time, and it has been a five- or six-year project. We are slowly starting to reap some rewards."

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Jason Reilly, the Rugby Master at Canberra Grammar, believes consistency and hard work have transformed the school's rugby program.

"There has been good stability with the coaches," Reilly said. "The coaches have been demanding the boys work harder. Traditionally we get outsized by other schools and the clubs in the younger age groups."

St Edmund's have beaten Grammar in both contests this season, but Eddies head coach Pat Langtry said Grammar had earned the respect of all ACT opposition.

"Grammar have been outstanding," Langtry said. "Their opens rugby program in the last couple of years has just skyrocketed ...  Full credit to the systems they have in place, and obviously their coaching staff."

ACT Junior Rugby Union grand finals, from Under 9-18, will be held at Viking Park on Saturday and Sunday, with the action kicking off at 8:45am both days. St Edmund's have been the most dominant this season, represented in 13 of the 25 grand finals. 

ACT JUNIOR RUGBY UNION U18 GRAND FINAL

Sunday: St Edmund's College v Canberra Grammar School, Viking Park, 4pm

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