TASMANIAN junior rugby sides suffered heavy losses to their Victorian schools counterparts at the weekend, although all age groups improved greatly over their two matches.
Victoria showed the strength the Melbourne Rebels community arm had added to its schools competition, producing squads with skilful players and a considerable size and strength advantage.
Saturday's matches at Hobart's Rugby Park provided a culture shock, with Victoria taking the under-14s 101-0, under-16s 60-0 and under-18s 77-3.
Tasmanian players displayed plenty of spirit as they tried valiantly to restrict their more experienced opponents, but found insufficient support for rare attacking forays.
Better contests ensued in the Sunday matches at Hutchins School. Despite losing 55-0, the under-14s succeeded in applying healthy pressure in attack and defence.
In the under-16s, Tasmania was disappointed to again not post a score, but the 34-0 scoreline represented a much more closely contested game.
The Tasmanian under- 18s overcame the loss of several injured players to lose 50-14, mounting most of the attacking forays in the last third of the match and rewarded with two tries.
The Tasmanian under- 16s play Southern Inland (New South Wales) in Launceston next week as further preparation for the national championships in September.
The under-14s travel to Victoria in a month for further matches.
Weary Dunlop (spirit of rugby) Award winners: Tasmanian under-14s Ismael Alkan; under-16s Jack Reid; under-18s Dewann Du Plessis.