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Eastwood Rugby Partners with ISCA – Cooper Griffin takes up inaugural scholarship

Eastwood Rugby has recently signed a partnership with International Sport College Australia

(ISCA). It is another building block in the club’s plan to develop its young talent both on and off the rugby field. Robert Frost and ISCA’s General Manager Ian Evans have been in discussions on entering the partnership arrangement since 2020 but COVID has interrupted proceedings. “One of the key factors in providing a suitable environment for young aspiring rugby players is the provision of appropriate education or employment opportunities. This new partnership with ISCA is ideal as it aligns exactly with our strategy and values. We’re looking forward to a long and mutually rewarding partnership.” Robert explained.

Colts Head Coach David Telfer added. “The main reason I looked to finalise this partnership with ISCA in time for the 2022 season is simple, club rugby is no longer a case of turning up twice a week and playing on a Saturday. It is crucial that Eastwood provide a holistic program for players entering the colts program. This was seen at my old club where we were partnered with a University. This partnership is an integral part of our off-field education program as we look to assist players make the transition from Year 12 into colts.”

Ian Evans is equally enthusiastic about Eastwood coming on board with ISCA. “We offer a platform for school leavers to get a recognised qualification with a Diploma of Sports Management (High Performance) while pursuing their sporting career. It is not only about academic goals we also provide life skills from how to write a resume along to marketing and business management. It also gives them an opportunity to continue their studies further if that’s what they are aiming to achieve.

Ian has been involved in a number of sporting environments including the Sydney Swans, GWS Giants and Penrith Junior Rugby League. “ We believe the best time for these young athletics to undertake studies is in the years just after leaving school when they have more time to devote to pursuing their education while building their sporting careers. I’ve seen a lot of athletics leave study to their late twenties and find it difficult because of the additional pressures of families and other commitments. Our program gives our young students the chance to get it started early with relevant and practical courses while they are still in the learning habit from spending 13 years in a school environment.”

Cooper Griffin Takes up ISCA Opportunity

Cooper Griffin is extremely grateful for the opportunity given to him by Eastwood rugby to pursue his education in his chosen field while continuing with his rugby career. A gifted back rower Cooper is about to embark on his Colts journey this year. “I finished school at Oakhill College last year and was weighing up whether to take up an offer from UNE or go and get a trade when the chance to go to ISCA was offered to me. It sounded a lot better than trying to train after getting up at four each morning and working on the tools. I was able to defer UNE so it was a win win win.” Cooper said.

Cooper started playing his rugby at Hawkesbury in the Penrith district but even at a young age could see it was not a good option. “I spoke to my dad (Scott) and asked whether I should move to Eastwood. Dad went to Epping Boys High and played with Monster at Eastwood so he said go for it. Dad has been the greatest influence – a mentor really – on my rugby. He’s been there since under 6.

Cooper started playing with that great feeder club Dural and represented Eastwood Juniors culminating in captaining the under 18 side last year. He also made the NSW Barbarian side in 2020. At Oakhill he captained the Under 16 A side before playing his last two years in their first 15 side.

Cooper’s immediate goal is to make the Colts 1 side this year. “It is what I am aiming at. There are a lot of great players here so it wont be easy but competition brings the best out of you.” Longer term Cooper would love to be able to play rugby overseas. “Going overseas and playing rugby has always been a dream especially playing in France. I have an uncle in Japan so that is also on the radar. Would be helpful having somewhere to stay.”

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