Gemmell compared to rugby union star

Nanjing Night Net

OPENSIDE flanker David Pocock has skippered the Wallabies and has been ranked as one of the best players in the world, so that Sam Gemmell’s NSW Country Colts team-mates compare him to the rugby star is a massive compliment.

A member of CSU’s Central West Rugby Union side, Gemmell impressed enough in early representative fixtures for the zone to get the nod as a member of the Cockatoos colts squad.

Last week he started in both games of the Cockatoos’ Melbourne tour and both resulted in wins – a 29-10 result over the Victorian Rugby Union Development XV then a 28-19 victory against the VRU colts.

The Cockatoos’ match against their Victorian opposites on Friday night, which was the main curtain raiser to the Super Rugby fixture between the Melbourne Rebels and Chiefs at AAMI Park, saw Gemmell play an important role.

“We call him baby Pocock, he looks like him and he plays exactly the same style as him,” NSW Country colts coach Matt Thomas said of Gemmell.

“He is very dynamic and his defence is a real attribute to his game.

“His work rate around the paddock is incredible, around the ruck and in tight he was great.”

But Gemmell was not the only CSU talent to impress in the representative fixture. Club-mate and hooker Justin Picker earned praise from Thomas as well as he matched up against a physically bigger Victorian pack.

“Justin played a very strong game around the paddock, his scrummaging was excellent,” Thomas said.

“He was outweighed by about 30 or 40 kilos, both the opposition props were massive, both probably weighed about 140-155 kilos and their hooker wasn’t far behind them.

“But when he [Picker] concentrated on his technique, our scrum was very strong

“It was very imposing to play against guys like that, but I just told our forwards if they concentrated on technique and timing they’d get on top of them and they soon did.

“His [Picker’s] work rate around the paddock is improving. That is something we asked him to do, working at line-outs and scrums is a given, but we wanted him to work more across the paddock and he did that.”

Both Picker and Gemmell were given the nod as members of the starting XV on Friday night after doing well in Wednesday’s win over the development side.

In the ninth minute the Cockatoos took the lead thanks to a Daniel Damen penalty goal before the Victorian’s responded with three quick penalty goals in succession to make it 9-3.

But Gemmell, Picker and their team-mates maintained their composure. The first of their three tries for the match in the 20th minute gave them a 10-9 advantage and from there they stayed in front.

Victoria still pressured, but the Cockatoos went on from a 17-9 half-time lead to post a nine-point win.

The CSU duo will now return to club rugby before going into camp with the Cockatoos on May 18. The following day they will line up against an ACT Colts side in Wollongong that Thomas said would be “very well disciplined and structured.”

NSW COUNTRY COCKATOO COLTS 28 (Rhys Peters 2, Tarpaki Rahui tries; Daniel Damen 3 penalty goals; Daniel Damen 2 conversions) defeated VRU COLTS 19

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