Rugby Australia is bringing its First Nations Talent ID program to Ballina.
Rugby Australia is bringing its First Nations Talent ID program to Ballina. Contributed

Rugby Australia searching for indigenous talent

RUGBY Australia's high-performance team will be at Ballina next week in hopes of unearthing indigenous talent in regional NSW and Queensland.

The second leg of the #dreamBigTime tour will kick off on Monday, with the first stop at Taree.

The team will be at Ballina on Wednesday at the Quays Reserve field between 4.30pm and 6.30pm after a morning session at Yamba.

Following the talent ID tour the top 130 players will be flown to Sydney for a four-day camp where their skills will be put to the test in front of a panel of national coaches.

Two squads of 20 will then be chosen to represent two First Nations Sevens sides who will compete in five domestic and two international tournaments.

The long-term goal will be selecting at least two players to join the Australian Sevens squads for the 2024 Olympics.

Former Australian men's sevens assistant coach Jarred Hodges is leading the project with the support of Rugby Australia and the Member Unions.

"We're excited to get back out to regional Australia where we know there is a genuine thirst for rugby in these towns,” Hodges said.

"We witnessed more than five hundred people put on a superb performance on the first tour and we're expecting that number to double.

"We will have several Australian Sevens stars joining us on the trip to help host sessions and educate people around the international opportunities this sport has to offer.

"We will also ensure this won't be a one-off visit as we will work with the Member Unions to re-visit each of these communities and keep tapping into existing talent.”

Rugby Australia has also partnered with Aboriginal Medical Services to promote the importance of keeping healthy on and off the field.