Rat pack call-out brings union players back to University heartland

Published 9 July 2019
Gold Rats first grade runners-up 1987 Gold Rats first grade runners-up 1987. Dermot O'Gorman is back row fourth from the left.

What do former Wallabies Justin Harrison, World Wildlife Fund for Nature CEO Dermot O’Gorman and the All Blacks head strength and conditioning coach Dr Nic Gill have in common? All played rugby in their student days at Southern Cross University.

WWF CEO Dermot O’Gorman
WWF CEO Dermot O’Gorman

The University’s Rugby Club, known as the Gold Rats, marks its 50th season with a reunion weekend, July 12-14 in Lismore, inland of Byron Bay on the NSW North Coast. The Club is part of the Far North Coast rugby competition.

Organisers are planning on 300 former and current players, partners and rugby fans to turn up.

Harrison, who is now general manager of the Classic Wallabies, will be there with plenty of stories to tell from his Wallabies, Super Rugby and, of course, Gold Rats days.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) CEO Dermot O’Gorman is also returning to his alma mater where he studied natural resource management.

Playing in Southern Cross University Rugby team was a major part of my amazing experience of living and studying in Lismore,” Mr O’Gorman said.

“It was an honour to first pull on the red and gold jersey back in 1985 and now again to be joining so many current and ex-players this weekend to celebrate 50 years of sporting excellence. The Far North Coast Zone exemplifies the best of NSW Country Rugby and the local derby clash this weekend between the two great Lismore clubs will only have – and as the cliché goes there is one winner - Rugby!

“Congratulation to all players both past and present – our University’s Rugby Club 50th season - is something we must celebrate in Gold Rats style this Saturday.”

Other Gold Rats notables – and Southern Cross University alumni – are Australian rugby representative players Richard Tombs and Henry Vanderglas; All Blacks head strength and conditioning coach Dr Nic Gill and former NRL coach Matt Elliot.

International sensation ‘rugby war goddess’ Georgia Page is also studying osteopathy at Southern Cross University.

Media contact: Jessica Nelson jessica.nelson@scu.edu.au or 0417288794