Birch earns spot in national team

RISING star Josh Birch caused a stir in the nation’s capital last week and has now returned to Bundaberg with a coveted Australian under-15 schoolboys guernsey in his travel bag.

The North Bundaberg State High student, 14, played a starring role in the Queensland side’s ascent to the final of the Australian Schoolboys’ Championships.

Queensland lost to New South Wales in convincing fashion 44-10 but there was enough in Birch’s performance to earn him a spot in the Australian schoolboys Pool A merit team.

“It’s a bit of an honour for me and I’m going to do my best to hold on to the guernsey next year,” he said.

The Western Suburbs product has proved his versatility in schoolboys’ competition, switching from his club position of lock to prop and centre in the Queensland side.

Birch impressed selectors in the five-day competition with some trademark line surges and a strong defensive effort.

He said the disappointment of losing the grand final soon dissipated when he was named in the Australian squad after the game.

“It was a bit upsetting to get all the way through and be shot down at the end, but this is a pretty good consolation,” he said.

While the merit side will not leave the pages of the selectors’ clipboard, Birch hopes to hold on to his place in the team.

He hopes to represent Australia in the under-18 schoolboys squad in the annual Test against England when he comes of age. “It’s emerged as a bit of a goal for me and it’s something to work towards over the next few years.”



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