Who would win a rugby union State of Origin?

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    N.S.W Waratahs Benn Robinson scores a try despite pressure from the Queensland Reds Scott Higginbotham and Van Humphries during their Super Rugby match at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, Feb. 26, 2011. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins).

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    With the rugby league State of Origin just around the corner, I thought it would be interesting to pick two “State of Union” teams for Queensland and New South Wales.

    I have determined eligibility based on the school in which the player played for.

    Why?

    Rightly or wrongly Australian schoolboy rugby is the key developer of players in this country. The schools spend a lot of time and money developing individual players.

    I believe this has to change for Australian rugby to move forward, but that’s another debate for another time. I have also picked ACT players within the New South Wales squad, reflecting what usually takes place in rugby league.

    My teams was picked disregarding current injuries and is based on more recent form plus my own subjective views. After all this is an opinion site.

    Queensland
    1. Greg Holmes – Downlands College
    2. Steven More – Brisbane Grammar School
    3. James Slipper – The Southport School
    4. Nathan Sharpe – The Southport School
    5. James Horwill – Brisbane Boys College
    6. Scott Higginbotham – The Southport School
    7. David Pocock – Anglican Church Grammar School
    8. Ben Mowen – Villanova College

    9. Will Genia – Brisbane Boys College
    10. Quade Cooper – Anglican Church Grammar School
    11. Digby Ioane – St. Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace
    12. James O’Connor – St. Joseph’s Nudgee College
    13. Ben Tapuai – The Southport School
    14. Drew Mitchell – St. Patrick’s College
    15. Jesse Mogg – St. Patrick’s College

    16. James Hanson – St. Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace
    17. Ben Daley – All Saint’s Anglican School
    18. Rob Simmons – The Southport School
    19. Liam Gill – St. Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace
    20. Ben Lucas – St. Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace
    21. Matt To’omua – Brisbane State High School
    22. Dom Shipperly – St. Joseph’s Nudgee College

    New South Wales
    1. Benn Robbinson – The Kings School
    2. Tatafu Polota-Nau – South Granville High
    3. Dan Palmer – Warilla High School
    4. Hugh Pyle – Baker College
    5. Kane Douglas – Maclean High School
    6. Dave Dennis – Richmond High School
    7. Michel Hooper – St. Pius X College
    8. Wycliff Palu – Balgowlah Boys High

    9. Nic White – St. Gregory’s College
    10. Bernard Foley – St Aloysius College
    11. Lachy Turner – Newington College
    12. Pat McCabe – St. Aloysius College
    13. Adam Ashley Cooper – Berkeley Vale High School
    14. Nick Cummins – St. Francis
    15. Kurtley Beale – St. Joseph’s College, Hunters Hill

    16. Saia Fainga’a – St. Edmond’s College
    17. Ben Alexander – Knox Grammar
    18. Scott Fardy –?
    19. Ben McCalman – Kinross Wolaroi
    20. Nick Phipps – The Kings School
    21. Tom Kingston – St Aloysius College
    22. Anthony Fainga’a – St. Edmond’s College

    So who are the key omissions?

    Firstly, there is no Rocky Elsom or Berrick Barnes for Queensland. Both players, in my opinion have been surpassed by those mentioned above. With Barnes, I believe there is no space for him in the starting 15, and the bench options offer more versatility, however this is debatable.

    For New South Wales it means no Kepu (schooled in New Zealand) or Vickerman (schooled in South Africa). Additionally I couldn’t find any information regarding the Timani Brothers, however if they were schooled in NSW, please feel free to include them.

    Christian Lealiifano also misses out on a spot due to being schooled in Victoria, despite being the standout Australian 10 of this year.

    The result: I believe that the only area which New South Wales has an edge over Queensland is in the front row, and this due to the props. Palu is probably the stand out no. 8 in Australia right now, however the combination of Pocock, Higginbotham and Mowen offers more than their New South Wales counterparts. Balance in the backrow is vital in my opinion.

    In the backs, Queensland also has all the firepower. Kurtley Beale is a key asset for New South Wales at fullback, however as we have seen over the last three years for the Waratahs, one man cannot do it all. Picking a 10 for New South Wales was hard, however I believe I would take a punt on Foley over the established Daniel Halangahu. It is also possible to switch Foley around, considering they both can play 10 but mostly play 15.

    The bench of Queensland also offers slightly more, except for players like Alexander and the Fainga’a twins. I debated whether or not to include Gill, over another loose forward, such as Elsom, and concluded that he offers more than Brown, Schatz or Quirk right now. The question is, do you want another Fetcher or another 6/8?

    Taking into account my Queensland bias, I believe the Queensland Rugby Union XV has it by +15 on paper. The forwards will set a great platform, and Cooper will run riot with the firepower at his disposal.

    So there you have it, Roarers.

    What do you think?

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