Sydney
6 April 2003

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Peace ... harmony

Rugby league scores a try in a GPS college

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Rugby league scores a try in a GPS college

By Damir Govorcin

Some will call it sacrilege, others a win for the working-class.

St Ignatius, Riverview, a GPS school steeped in 110 years of rugby union tradition, is allowing that “other game” - rugby league - to be played at the school.

St Ignatius’ co-curriculum director, Chris Kitching, jokingly says “he hasn’t received any hate mail yet”.

The school will field an open-age rugby league team to play in an NRL knockout competition to be hosted by St Gregory’s College, Campbelltown, on May 31 and June 1.

While some noses have been put out of joint, Mr Kitching says the move to play rugby league offers more variety to the school’s 1530 students.

He points out that St Ignatius is the only GPS school playing all four codes - rugby union, rugby league, soccer and Australian Rules.

It offers 20 different sports to its students, with golf and volleyball set to be introduced in the coming months.

“I think this shows to the parents that the school is offering a variety of different sports to cater for the different interests of the students,” says Mr Kitching.

“We have a lot of boys who come from country areas who are interested in playing rugby league, so I think it’s only fair to give them a chance to play the game.

“From next year, some of the boys will be able to play rugby union on Saturday and rugby league on Sunday.

The NRL has offered to help St Ignatius get its rugby league program off the ground, as have former league stars Steve Roach, Steve Gearin and Paul Langmack (now coach of Souths), who have sons at the school.