GPS Rugby: where stars are born
WALLABIES great Stephen Moore was a humble prop in the 15Cs at Brisbane Grammar before he was developed in the talent system of Queensland rugby's greatest nursery.
He wasn't an instant "schoolboy star", which is as much rugby's story in the 100 years of the GPS Association as those who carry that overblown tag at the start of every new season.
For most, the camaraderie, close bonds and school fervour are sport at its most pure and most enjoyable.
With the celebrations for GPS 100 this season, The Courier-Mail has decided to join in with weekly coverage of the nine-school rugby competition and its rich history.
"It's a big highlight of your school years to make the First XV, one of your first dreams in footy," said Moore, a member of Grammar's First XV in 2000.
"You do feel the long history and tradition.
"The GPS schools in Queensland have certainly produced a lot of good players, but I'm also strongly behind the code broadening the horizons for more kids to play.
"You only have to look at the Wallabies, where the playing group is incredibly diverse from different backgrounds and the team's identity has been developed to represent that."
Rucking was still legal when Moore came into the First XV and discovered the methods of forwards coach Alex Evans, who drilled the 1984 grand slam Wallabies to glory.
"Alex would get 10 boys lying face down on the ground and you'd run over the top," Moore said of rucking tune-ups.
When the 1999 Ireland team trained at Brisbane Grammar they generously gifted their scrum machine to the school when the tour was over.
"It was the scrum machine I trained on," he said.
"In rugby, the big advantage at GPS schools is the structured training programs and developing in a system with good coaches and skills.
"To me, it's also important that rugby is only part of a rounded education at school and no one is putting too much pressure on the kids."
Nudgee College and The Southport School shared last year's GPS premiership and the new season kicks off on July 21.
TSS will be led by school captain Tom Van der Schyff, the skipper of the Queensland Schoolboys in Sydney this week.
For long-time TSS coach Mike Wallace, the GPS competition connects with rugby lovers.
"All those coaching in GPS are passionate rugby people with the emphasis on running the ball and it'll be the best game of rugby you see on a weekend," he said.
Cast a net over Australian rugby players in Super Rugby teams, club footy, in England, France and Japan, and you'll get an idea how strong the production line of GPS talent is.
Current GPS all-stars
15. Tom Banks (Brumbies, BBC)
14. Jordan Petaia (Reds, BSHS)
1 3. Izaia Perese (Reds, Churchie)
12. Samu Kerevi (Reds, BSHS)
11. Chris Feauai-Sautia (Reds, BSHS)
10. Quade Cooper (Souths, Churchie)
9. Will Genia (Rebels, BBC)
8. Caleb Timu (Reds, Nudgee)
7. David Pocock (Brumbies, Churchie)
6. Scott Higginbotham (Reds, TSS)
5. Izack Rodda (Reds, IGS)
4. Rob Simmons (Waratahs, TSS)
3. JP Smith (Reds, TGS)
2. James Hanson (Gloucester, GT)
1. Paul Alo-Emile (Stade Francais, BSHS)
16. Andrew Ready (Reds, GT)
17. Ruan Smith (Reds, TGS)
18. Harry Hoopert (Reds, TGS)
19. James Horwill (Harlequins, BBC)
20. Liam Gill (Lyon, GT)
21. Matt Toomua (Leicester, BSHS)
22. Hamish Stewart (Reds, TGS)
23. Ben Lucas (Reds, GT)