The first games of Rugby at Trinity were played during the 1916 season. Unfortunately, no records of that season have survived. However, the first recorded 1st XV match at Trinity Grammar School was in 1917 against Newington 3rd XV who won that fixture 16-0. The first win for the School was 8-6 against The Technical High School later that season. That 1917 team contained Trinity’s first Australian Wallaby representative, Roy Hoskins, who played three test matches against the All Blacks in 1924. The first Captain of Rugby was A.B. Kerrigan who was the captain for 1916 and 1917 and after whom Kerrigan House is named.
In 1918, under the captaincy of Roy Hoskins, Trinity won 7 matches out of 12, including a very good 39-0 win against Waverley College. In 1919 Trinity fielded two future Wallabies, Hoskins and Campbell Gordon in the backline. Gordon also played three test matches against the All Blacks in 1929.
In the four years from 1935 to 1938, the 1st XV won the Combined Associated Schools’ Competition three times and were runners-up in 1936. Halfback Horrie Marks played an extraordinary five years in the 1st XV during this period.
In 2005 Robert O’Reilly scored a record 25 tries and, over three season of 1st XV from 2004-2006, scored 43 tries to be the School’s leading try scorer. O’Reilly went on to represent the NSW Schools XV in 2005 and 2006.
The School Rugby programme has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in the last five years or so with six Australian Schools’ representatives; Pao Pele (2008), Scott Sio (2009), Usaia O’Sullivan (2009), Jack Debreczeni (2011), Cameron Orr (2012) and Faaope Satiu (2013) - as well as 2013 Australian Under 20s representative in Patrick Sio (2011).
Most pleasingly, Scott Sio made the ultimate level of success, making his debut for the Wallabies against the All Blacks at Homebush in front of 80,000 people.
Since 1996, a number of Trinity players have continued to play the sport professionally at the highest levels. Some notable names are Rory Sidey who played for the Western Force; Scott Sio who represents The Brumbies and the Wallabies; Usaia O’Sullivan played for the Sydney Roosters; Jack Debreczeni – the Melbourne Rebels, and Cameron Orr who is now playing in the English League. Fotu Auelua and Lotu Taukeiaho also went on to play Super Rugby.
Rugby, performing the function of a pillar of tradition within the culture of the School, provides boys the opportunity for exposure to a challenging and enjoyable contact sport, assisting them to evolve into young men.
Trinity’s most recent Combined Associated Schools’ Premiership, where schools compete for the Henry Plume Shield, was in 2011, when the 1st XV enjoyed a record breaking undefeated season. Highlights included an extraordinary 67 tries in the 10 game season.
Andrea Folli | MIC