TWO Launceston rugby union players competed with distinction in the Australian schools jlunder-18 rugby union championships in Sydney.
Callum Lyall, 18, and Kieran van Brecht, 17, were picked to play as part of a Victorian division 2 team to compete against South Australia, Northern Territory and a national indigenous team.
Lyall made the merit team at the end of the championships as one of the top 15 division 2 players while van Brecht was voted by the coaches as the best player in the Victorian team.
It was the fifth successive year both Launceston Rugby Union Club players have taken part in the national schools championships.
Lyall, a lock and number 8, is a year 12 St Patrick's College student, while van Brecht, an outside centre, is in year 12 at Launceston College.
``Because Tassie is pretty poor in numbers with rugby we weren't able to field a team so we were able to try out for a second Victorian team,'' Lyall said.
``We had a crack and got into it.
``We've been four times previous to this but it is always the same - high-intensity rugby and really good quality as well and it was great to get back into that.
``I never felt overwhelmed with the quality of rugby and was pretty happy with the way I played and I got a lot of ball.
``To be picked in the 15 best players at the end came as a big surprise - it was the best I have gone so I was really happy with it.''
Van Brecht said it was a good experience to be able to see how interstate teams play, which was different to what they were used to in Tasmania.
``I'm always looking for things to improve but I came away from the nationals happy with the way I played,'' he said.
``To be picked as one of the players of the tournament - I was pretty proud of myself for that and wasn't expecting it.''
Both said they would like to continue with the sport and will consider moving to the mainland or New Zealand to play in the future.