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.


    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.

    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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    The Crowd Says (118)

    • Roar Guru

      May 9th 2012 @ 3:18am
      peeeko said | May 9th 2012 @ 3:18am | ! Report

      i think you need to also include those people who were not schooled in either state, not sure how. i think your concept may have some legs especially now as the super rugby teams are now franchises not actually state teams. the game can also be used as a selection trial like the all blacks have done.

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2012 @ 10:24am
        Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        Right now Lealiifano would be the only name from outside QLD or NSW who would make either team, unfortunately. Hopefully if I sat down and did this again in 10 years the list of players from outside these two states would be larger.

    • May 9th 2012 @ 6:24am
      mania said | May 9th 2012 @ 6:24am | ! Report

      more importantly who would bother watching it?

      • May 9th 2012 @ 7:13am
        bill said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:13am | ! Report

        That’s what a lot of people said when the rugby league state of origin was first proposed.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 8:01am
          Jarmen said | May 9th 2012 @ 8:01am | ! Report

          Yes your right there Bill, many people poo poo’d the SOO proposal but look at it now its huge and everyone wants a slice of the pie.

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2012 @ 10:24am
        Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        No one, since its not going to happen 😉

    • Roar Guru

      May 9th 2012 @ 7:01am
      Sam Brown said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:01am | ! Report

      I love that amongst so many private schools Kane Douglas comes from Maclean High. Rural Public Schools Represent!

      • May 9th 2012 @ 10:16am
        BennO said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        I thought the same thing!

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2012 @ 10:29am
        Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        G’day Sam – The public schools in NSW seem to get a bit of a go in more so than in QLD. After I made that list, I had a couple of thoughts regarding the game in NSW, namely what is going on with development? Despite NSW and Australian Schoolboy teams being chock for of NSW GPS kids, they rarely go on about it.

        NSW does produce a lot of professional rugby players, but the quality of the talent is lacking, compared to up north in the Sunshine State.

        • Roar Guru

          May 9th 2012 @ 1:53pm
          Sam Brown said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          I can say first hand that Rugby League is far more popular than Union in the bush and I think that is the one big reason both teams are predominately made up of capital city private school boys.

          I grew up in Grafton, about 40 min from Maclean and I played quite a bit of footy against Kane (we actually knocked each other out with a headclash in an U14s school match). He actually copped a bit of stick from some of the leaguies when he dicided to concentrate on union instead of league.

          I think as far as production goes we can’t just rely on the private school nurseries, bush rugby is great for producing a raw passion for the game, something I feel some of our rugby players lack.

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2012 @ 2:30pm
            Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

            Sam I have been lucky enough to play a game or too out at Longreach and the boys out there hit bloody hard I tell you what.

            League is far more popular in the Bush in QLD too.

            • May 9th 2012 @ 5:27pm
              WQ said | May 9th 2012 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

              No doubt the Western QLD boys hit pretty hard Jiggles!

          • May 10th 2012 @ 11:14am
            Milz said | May 10th 2012 @ 11:14am | ! Report

            Name-dropping much Sam? You didn’t even spell his name correctly on you second comment!

    • May 9th 2012 @ 7:03am
      Emric said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:03am | ! Report

      There is a group of people who want the North V South (NZ) (Save Otago) game to be made an annual fixture. It could be an interesting development for Rugby if this happens

      • May 9th 2012 @ 7:07am
        mania said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:07am | ! Report

        emric – i’m one of those that are against it. in the past north vs south was used as AB’s trial as there wasnt enough trugby in that calendar year. almost always at least one player would get seriously injured. we have the luxury now of seeing players week in week out during superRugby, so imho no nead for the n vs s trial….though: it’d be a lot more exciting than a unio state of O.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 8:11am
          Jarmen said | May 9th 2012 @ 8:11am | ! Report

          I think it should be come an annual fixture however post ITM cup when the ABs have gone on tour.

          A North vs South Island match where players from the Heartland competition are also included would be fantastic and it would generate interest in the smaller provinces especially if their own boys were involved.

          Could make it compulsory that 5 Heartland Players are in the squads of both the North and South teams. kind of like the barbarians were players are invited to play.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 8:13am
          Adam_JJV said | May 9th 2012 @ 8:13am | ! Report

          Theres talk of it basicly being a game with just retired rugby players. More of an exibition match rather than a trial game with guys who are playing now.

          • May 9th 2012 @ 10:23am
            Lippy said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:23am | ! Report

            That will be a fizzer and I doubt many will support it if that is the case.

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2012 @ 10:30am
        Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:30am | ! Report

        Emric why hasn’t this match ever taken off, I would’ve thought there would be a bit of hatred between North and South. There is a bit of tension between Auckland and Canterbury.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 12:21pm
          Emric said | May 9th 2012 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

          Jiggles it used to be used as a All Black Trial game. I’ve no idea why this game is not played I can only speculate that the reasons lay in not having enough rest places in the rugby calander

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2012 @ 1:01pm
            Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

            I remember a possibles versus probables game a few years back which was entertaining. Although if you don’t know the core of your test team after a million games of Super Rugby, then I don’t think you really have a clue.

            • May 9th 2012 @ 1:21pm
              Adam_JJV said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

              It could work, but not as a trial. Players could be picked from the Provincial teams that play the ITM Cup (NPC). Excluding AB’s.
              I assume players would be picked by where they were born. With the way things are at the moment it could be quite an interesting game…

              • May 9th 2012 @ 1:44pm
                Lippy said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

                Jar referred to this above and suggested adding a handful of Heartland players

            • May 9th 2012 @ 2:51pm
              Adam_JJV said | May 9th 2012 @ 2:51pm | ! Report

              For a Laugh

              North Island

              1.Tony Woodcock
              2. Kevin Mealamu
              3. Charlie Faumuina
              4. Sam Whitelock
              5. Brodie Retallick
              6. Liam Messam
              7. Tanerau Latimer
              8. Victor Vito

              9. Aaron Smith
              10. Aaron Cruden
              11. Hosea Gear
              12. Ma’a Nonu
              13. Conrad Smith
              14. Cory Jan
              15. Israel Dagg

              South Island

              1. Owen Franks
              2. Andrew Hore
              3. Ben Franks
              4. Tom Donnely
              5. Josh Bekhuis
              6. Adam Thompson
              7. Richie McCaw
              8. Kierran Read

              9. Andy Ellis
              10. Tom Taylor
              11. Kade Poki
              12. Dan Carter
              13. Tim Bateman
              14. Robbie Robinson
              15. Ben Smith

              We could have North Island v South Island v Queensland v NSW

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2012 @ 3:49pm
                jeznez said | May 9th 2012 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

                Charlie ahead of Ben Tameifuna? Or is there an eligibility issue?

              • May 9th 2012 @ 4:19pm
                Brad said | May 9th 2012 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

                Retallick is from Canterbury, so swap him for Tom Donnely and that’s an awesome froward pack. Countered by an outstanding back line for the north. I’d watch that.

              • May 9th 2012 @ 5:48pm
                Lippy said | May 9th 2012 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

                Keiran Read is from Pukekohe

              • May 9th 2012 @ 7:17pm
                Adam_JJV said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:17pm | ! Report

                jeznez – I chose Faumuina over Tameifuna only by experience really. Even though tameifuna was in the NZU20s.
                Brad – Couldnt find where Retallick was born, closest i got was BOP for some reason? so chucked him in the North Island. Bring in Craig Clarke in place of him.
                Lippy – Id swap him with Latimer and bring Nasi Manu into the South Island team.

            • May 11th 2012 @ 10:52pm
              allblackfan said | May 11th 2012 @ 10:52pm | ! Report

              Just a few details of the game
              – Former All Blacks Captain Graham Mourie and former All Blacks assistant coach Tony Gilbert to coach North and South respectively
              – Players to be selected from NZ Super Rugby franchises and wider training groups
              – Match to be played Sunday 2pm (NZT, noon AEST) 10 June at Dunedin.
              – All Blacks will be unavailable.
              – The match is not a fundraiser for the union and all proceeds will go to the city.
              – North players to be drawn from Blues, Chiefs and Hurricanes: south = Crusaders and Highlanders.
              – North will be in black, South in white.
              – When will tickets be available and how much will they cost?
              – Tickets: Adults: $20, Students: $7.50, Kids: $7.50, family (2 Adults and 1 child): $45 and $5 for each additional child

      • May 9th 2012 @ 2:44pm
        Tissot Time said | May 9th 2012 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

        Emric, The Inter Island match was a longstanding yearly fixture until the mid 80s and was much more than a trial match. I remember watching a North South match at Carisbrook in 1981 and standing on the terraces when the whether was coming in from the South horizontally. They were worst the conditions I ever watched rugby in apart from a couple of howlers on the Mallard Stand. I developed epaulets of sleet on my tweed overcoat which was dispensed straight into my tumbler to break the meniscus of my warminig whiskey.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 4:28pm
          Emric said | May 9th 2012 @ 4:28pm | ! Report

          Ahh the mallard stand oh how i remember her well – leaning over the side with 30,000 other Wellington fans (who all chose to sit in the Mallard) watching as my team (Wellington) got pummelled into the ground one more time by Auckland.

          those were the days

          • May 9th 2012 @ 5:56pm
            Jerry said | May 9th 2012 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

            Ahem – it was the Millard Stand, not the Mallard.

            Best view in rugby.

            • May 9th 2012 @ 7:58pm
              Emric said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:58pm | ! Report

              Thanks Jerry – 🙂 and yes yes it was. Athletic park was made for Rugby unlike the poor quality regional stadium

    • May 9th 2012 @ 7:13am
      Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:13am | ! Report

      Great idea for players already over loaded & getting injured.

      Seems a sure way to isolate the other states too.

      • May 9th 2012 @ 7:59am
        formeropenside said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        Yeah, the other states contribute so much to Australian rugby. Qld v NSW is and should be the high point of the rugby calendar.

        I cant see how Mogg makes fullback for Qld with Morahan, Lucas, and others in the mix. Even Nick Cummins is a Qld boy gone bad.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 9:23am
          Bakkies said | May 9th 2012 @ 9:23am | ! Report

          If NSW contributes so much to Australian Rugby then why can’t they produce a decent flyhalf? Any real Canberra rugby man wouldn’t touch a tahs jersey with a barge pole let alone wear it in a poxy “Origin” match.

          I thought Higginbotham was originally from WA

          • May 9th 2012 @ 12:25pm
            formeropenside said | May 9th 2012 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

            Born there but of Brisbane stock – his dad used to play for Wests before.

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2012 @ 10:34am
        Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:34am | ! Report

        It’s not going to happen Blinky so I don’t think you have to worry about that.

        But I do think it highlights some good points, namely.

        1) Why is talent not being developed as well in NSW as in QLD
        2) Lealiifano is the only player form outside the heart land states that is good enough, so it seems. Are we expecting too much too soon with the Force?

        • May 9th 2012 @ 1:53pm
          Justin said | May 9th 2012 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          Digby and Taps are Melbourne boys too. If they appeared in another 5 years they would likely be playing their school footy in VIC like CL did.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 2:03pm
          Justin said | May 9th 2012 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

          By the way mate a very good little project and like both sides. I would really like to see this happen but I know it never will. Either way a good exercise and gives some background to thsee guys I didnt know about.

    • May 9th 2012 @ 7:48am
      sheek said | May 9th 2012 @ 7:48am | ! Report


      A wonderful exercise. But that’s where it should remain – an ‘exercise’.

      State-Of-origin works well for rugby league, because two states is all they’ve got.

      It doesn’t work for rugby union because we have 5 states/provinces.

      I never want to see State-Of-Origin in rugby union. It would be an acknowledgement we can’t do any better…..

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2012 @ 8:00am
        peeeko said | May 9th 2012 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        decent point but how many of the players come from victoria and WA?

        • May 9th 2012 @ 2:05pm
          Justin said | May 9th 2012 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

          Digby, Taps, Ulgia, Johannsen, CL are the main ones playing now. Plenty of others have made it before from Melbourne.

      • May 9th 2012 @ 8:00am
        formeropenside said | May 9th 2012 @ 8:00am | ! Report

        But Sheek, we dont have 5 states producing players…we have two.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 8:05am
          sheek said | May 9th 2012 @ 8:05am | ! Report


          You know the saying – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

          We need patience to grow the game outside of NSW & Qld.

        • Columnist

          May 9th 2012 @ 9:55am
          Brett McKay said | May 9th 2012 @ 9:55am | ! Report

          Open your other eye FOS, there are five states producing rugby players, even if three of those are doing it a lower levels currently. A trickling flow of players is still a flow of players regardless. And trickles do become rivers eventually…

          • May 9th 2012 @ 10:25am
            Lippy said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            Technically speaking it is 4 states and 1 Territory isn’t it?

            • Columnist

              May 9th 2012 @ 10:37am
              Brett McKay said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:37am | ! Report

              yes, of course it is Lippy. But FOS doesn’t recognise anything without a postcode starting with a 4, so it was hardly worth pointing out that oversight as well…

              • May 9th 2012 @ 3:29pm
                formeropenside said | May 9th 2012 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

                Its not my fault you are not all Queenslanders.

              • Columnist

                May 9th 2012 @ 4:16pm
                Brett McKay said | May 9th 2012 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

                FOS, every time I read your posts I think of a wonderful old joke..

                A Queenslander, a Victorian, and a New South Welshman are greeted by a genie and given the obligatory three wishes.

                The Queenslander, as one-eyed and closed-mided as they come, steps up and declares, “Queensland is the greatest place in the world, we don’t want anyone coming in to spoil it, none of us want to leave, and so my wish is for a fortified wall around the whole state.”

                The Victorian is appalled, and says “Victoria welcomes the masses, and so my one wish is for a completely inclusive population, open borders, and a cultural and sporting experience second to none.”

                The genie delivers both wishes, Queensland gets its wall, Victoria gets its culture and sport, and all eyes turn to the New South Welshman.

                “Tell me more about this wall around Queensland,” he says.

                The genie looks puzzled, but answers regardless, telling them “It’s 12 feet high, completely inpenetrable. Nothing can get in, nothing can get out, and the Queenslanders love it.”

                “So it’s completely water-tight?” the New South Welshman asks, to which the genie nods in confirmation.

                “Good,” the New South Welshman declares. “Fill it.”

              • Roar Guru

                May 9th 2012 @ 4:34pm
                Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

                Very Droll, Brett 😉

      • Roar Guru

        May 9th 2012 @ 10:38am
        Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        Hi Sheek – This would never get off the ground, and I dont really advocate it to be honest. But it is a nice hyperthetical to see where all the talent is from. as FOS points out we still only have 2 true rugby states, and I question the “If you build it they will come” approach which seems to taken with the ARU regarding Perth and Melbourne.

        • May 9th 2012 @ 2:19pm
          sittingbison said | May 9th 2012 @ 2:19pm | ! Report

          except the ARU didn’t build it in WA, they threw us to the wolves

          • Roar Guru

            May 9th 2012 @ 2:39pm
            Jiggles said | May 9th 2012 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            Elaborate please? I am interested to hear how the Force got thrown to the wolves….

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