A full plate for the Pioneers
FORMER Wallabies Sam Cordingley, Sean Hardman and Justin Harrison will be back on the rugby field at Lyle Park, Wollongbar, on Saturday.
The trio will be joined by former Queensland Reds and Australian sevens player Alex Gibbon for a junior coaching clinic.
It shapes as a big few days for the Wollongbar-Alstonville club with its Classic Wallabies lunch at the Pioneers Tavern on Friday.
Former Wallabies centre Dan Herbert will also be at the lunch.
The Classic Wallabies are an alumni of former Australian players who have retired from the game.
Harrison, a towering lineout specialist, played 34 games for the Wallabies and spent nine years in Super Rugby at the ACT Brumbies and NSW Waratahs.
He will be one of the key speakers and should have plenty of stories of local interest having played for Southern Cross University when he lived in Lismore.
He was recently appointed general manager of the Classic Wallabies, replacing Stephen Hoiles, who brought the team here in 2017 to play the Alan Jones-coached Barbarians.
The Classic Wallabies travel Australia and overseas to play in tournaments and help raise money at grassroots level.
"(It's) to continue the mateship and camaraderie beyond the playing days, providing former Wallabies with the opportunities to keep in touch, catch up and reminisce about those special times,” Harrison said.
"We have a unique network of people with a desire to help the rugby community.
"This translates into junior skills development clinics, fundraising events and (we) are looking forward to a great afternoon of some fun stories and memories.”
Junior players from all Far North Coast clubs are invited to attend the coaching clinic on Saturday.
It runs for two hours from noon before the Pioneers play their first trial game of the preseason against the Gold Coast Eagles.
There is a women's game against the Southern Cross University Lady Rats at 2pm before reserve grade and the main game at 4pm.
It is a busy start to the season for the Pioneers who then head to Tenterfield next weekend to take on Robb College in the second annual Premiers Challenge against the New England zone.
Ballina also plays Armidale that day at Federation back before playing Wollongbar-Alstonville in the first round of the FNC competition at Lyle Park on March 30.
The contact for the junior clinic this weekend is Anthony Drew on 0477 389 985 while bookings for the lunch can be made to Emma on 0409 884 275.