The 2019 Ipswich Rangers women's rugby union team.
The 2019 Ipswich Rangers women's rugby union team.

After historic year: Rangers building for next 50 years

RUGBY UNION: Following a cracking 50th anniversary in 2018, the Ipswich Rangers have enjoyed a successful start to the season.

After claiming the Pegg Cup and finishing runner-up in the Wyatt Cup last year, the club is healthy with participation numbers up across the grades.

Juniors are well catered for, with a pathway from tiny tots to colts for both boys and girls.

With three senior squads, including a newly formed women's outfit, there are opportunities for everyone to try the sport regardless of experience and skill level.

Rangers currently sit second in both the Normanby Cup (Friday night competition) and Pegg Cup (Saturday).

The women's side is finding its feet in a challenging league featuring the best female players in the state.

Despite a disappointing weekend with both Cup teams suffering narrow losses, senior co-ordinator Nick Scott said all involved were pleased with the progress being made by each of Rangers' senior groups.

"All of our teams have been going really well," he said.

"They have been playing quality sides every week. That's what we want.

"We want to play tough games week-in, week-out because it is more satisfying when you have played to the best of your ability to overcome a quality opponent."

Entering the competition for the first time, the Rangers women are in a development phase.

However, 24 women have signed on and they are fast becoming familiar with the 15-man code and improving rapidly.

"It is great to have the women's team up and running," he said.

"The game is all brand new to them at the moment. They are still learning but it has been very successful in getting the girls playing rugby and giving them experience."

Scott said initially the women's games had been a bit messy but the spectacle was improving as the players developed a greater understanding of the rules and nuances of the game.

"It is enjoyable to watch," he said. "And when you are watching a good quality rugby game, that's how you know the girls are learning and getting better."

He said the club had implemented a two-year program that would support the women, get them up to speed and give them every chance of prospering into the future.

"We would like to build a dynasty," he said.

Scott said Rangers was also aiming to foster a positive family-orientated culture and friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

He said the results of those efforts could best be seen on a typical junior training night, during which families fired up barbecues and socialised while relaxing on picnic rugs.

"You can really see what the club is all about and the direction that is heading in," he said.

Talent camps

Last Thursday night, Rugby Australia visited Rangers headquarters at Woodend Park in search of the game's next Indigenous superstar.

Scott said fewer people had attended than organisers were hoping for but it had still been a worthwhile exercise and a great opportunity for members of the local Indigenous community to get noticed.

On Wednesday night from 6pm-8pm, Queensland Rugby Union is holding its own talent combine at Woodend Park.

Scott said the Ipswich Rangers held a long and proud history of association with the Queensland Reds, with one of the grandstands at Ballymore named after life member of the club and distinguished Wallaby, the late Jeff McLean.

He said Rangers welcomed the talent scouts and encouraged boys aged 14-16 to head along and try-out.

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State of play

Normanby Cup: Wests def Ipswich Rangers 14-12.

Pegg Cup: North Lakes Leopards def Ipswich Rangers 26-24.