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Q&A Tuesday with Gareth Smith



It was a Super Saturday at Toowoomba Bears Rugby on the weekend, hosting the USQ Saints for some friendly – and local – competition.


Gareth Smith, Project Lead of the MRP PlayerMentor Alumni Project (to be launched 23 June at our End of Season Carnival), spent his Saturday along the sidelines to witness the MRP in action.

Q: Which MRP divisions showcased their talent on Saturday morning?

A: “It was a wonderful morning – there were six teams and three games. The USQ Saints MRP White Team versed the Toowoomba Bears MRP Blue Team; the USQ Saints MRP Blue Team versed the Toowoomba Bears MRP Red Team; and the USQ Saints 7s Blue Team versed their own rivalry, the USQ Saints 7s White Team."

Q: Describe the energy of the MRP Players

A: “The MRP Players were really calm; they knew where to go and what to do. Once they took to the field, they were all extremely content and happy. And the games were of a really high quality – there was lots of passing, lots of try scoring and lots of smiles all round!"

Q: Since kicking-off the MRP season a few weeks ago, how would you describe the development of the PlayerMentors’ interaction and friendship with the MRP Players?

A: "It was clear that very deep relationships have been formed: the PlayerMentors demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the players in regards to their strengths and weaknesses. You can really tell the bond was already there!

The one thing I really loved to see was when they all gathered in a group and discussed what went well and what can be improved for the coming weeks!"

Q: Describe the atmosphere surrounding the fields

A: “There were heaps of parents and extended family across the sidelines, from one end of the field to the other. And amongst the cheering, there was a breakfast barbeque for everyone to enjoy!"

Q: How did it feel to witness the healing power of rugby?

A: “It’s truly an intangible feeling, but it’s about the bonding of the community and being part of a welcoming and friendly environment. Everyone is happy and everyone is proud!”

Q: Reflected through the inclusivity of the MRP Program, was it heart-warming to watch new families be welcomed into their local rugby club?

A: “It is – heart-warming is exactly right! The word-of-mouth endorsement and invitation towards the MRP is really powerful and reflected through the crowd. And this is something that we aim to continue throughout the season and the program: a social sideline accompanied with wine and cheese is a real focus. We want everyone involved!


The MRP believe rugby is a game for all and after Saturday’s efforts, Toowoomba Bears and the USQ Saints’ MRP teams are testaments.


Here’s to another heart-warming week of the MRP; let’s lace up those boots and get ready for another!

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