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Classics get up in the Downs but local rugby community is the winner

The morning after the Wallabies’ opening test against Ireland in Brisbane, around 2,500 people from all over the Darling Downs region descended upon Gold Park, Toowoomba to meet the Classic Wallabies, as they took on the Darling Downs Barbarians in the Classic Wallabies tour to Toowoomba.

The day started early with over 200 local juniors involved in a free coaching clinic hosted by the Classic Wallabies in partnership with Macquarie Sports.The kids – and their parents looking on with interest – learnt specialist skills from some of the finest in their field, including former Wallabies half back Luke Burgess imparting his passing secrets, and flanker David Croft teaching ruck time technique. The 2 hour skills session ended with a sausage sizzle and a free footy for the kids courtesy of Macquarie.  

The on-field action kicked off with a series of 7s matches involving local clubs Condamine Codettes & Toowoomba Bears, plus the Darling Downs representative squads followed by the main game between the Classic Wallabies and the Darling Downs Over 35’s Barbarians, with representative players from clubs throughout the region invited to join in the action.

With a number of players from both sides being well over 40, some gentlemanly rules of engagement were established before they took the field. However, once they crossed that white line and the whistle blew, many of those were forgotten as competitive instinct took over!

In a free flowing and open game of rugby, all players on both sides displayed plenty of skills, showing the 2,500-strong crowd why they’d achieved their representative success in the game over the years.

The Classic Wallabies ran out 58-19 winners, with Julian Huxley, Gene Fairbanks and Moses Rauluni being some of the standouts for the Classics. After the game, the opposing captains exchanged jerseys and kids flooded the field, eager to kick their new footies around. The local fans got to have a chat with and get an autograph from their favourite ex-Wallabies as they mingled late into the afternoon.

It was a classic afternoon of park footy, albeit with a host of former Wallabies totalling over 400 caps for their country running around on the park. Fans were treated to a few special extras around the field, with Harvey Norman giving away a heap of prizes in a pass the ball comp alongside their pop-up store, Yenda serving up craft beers from it’s well-travelled Landcruiser, and corporate guests enjoying some fine hospitality thanks to The Rugby Club, Yenda and Taylor’s Wines.

Overall, the event succeeded in engaging the rugby community, providing lifelong memories for those that played and witnessed the match, whilst raising funds for the Downs Rugby association and the Classic Wallabies to continue delivering coaching programs right around Australia.

View coverage of the event from WIN News Toowoomba:

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