Best of youth rugby rewarded at Rugby Young Achiever Award

November 13 / 123

Nicholas Gillies from St Kevin’s College has been named the University of Melbourne Rugby Young Achiever Award recipient for 2013.

The $6500 award is given to the best young rugby player in the state who exemplifies some of the characteristics that former Wallaby Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop was famous for: leadership, academic endeavour and sporting excellence.

Established in 2011, the award provides a $2500 tertiary scholarship from the university on enrolment and a $2500 rugby scholarship from the Melbourne University Rugby Football Club when the winner joins the team for season 2014. Melbourne University Sport provides an additional $1500 to the winner.

The award was presented to Mr Gillies at the annual Victorian Rugby Union ‘Weary Dunlop Luncheon’. He beat two other finalists for the top prize, St Kevin’s teammate Aidan Slack and Ivanhoe Grammar flanker Nathaniel Karam.

Mr Gillies, who played hooker for St Kevin’s, was Vice-Captain this year as his team won its second consecutive Victorian School’s Rugby Union title. A member of the Melbourne Rebels Apprentice Program, he was also in the Victorian Schools Under 18 team and the ARU Gold Squad this year.

Mr Gillies' older brother Andrew was a finalist for the award in its first year.

Rod Warnecke, Secretary of the Award’s Selection Committee, hailed this year’s finalists.

“All three of the finalists embody the characteristics that made ‘Weary’ Dunlop the sporting icon we revere today. Undoubtedly they are the cream of the Year 12 rugby-playing cohort from across Victoria,” Mr Warnecke said.

Award ambassador, retiring Rebel Tim Davidson, said it was a great initiative.

“This award provides a pathway for local schoolboys to take the next step both on and off the field, with a very balanced approach to sport and academic study that will hopefully help them pull on a Rebels jumper,” Mr Davidson said.

The university is the Official Education Partner of the RaboDirect Melbourne Rebels.

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