6 Dec 2023
FORMER WALLABIES COACH JIM MCKAY TO LEAD AUSTRALIAN STOCKMAN TOUR TO ENGLAND IN 2024
Former Wallabies and Queensland Reds coach Jim McKay will join regional representative rugby side Australian Stockman as head coach for an upcoming four-match tour of England in October 2024.
McKay brings significant experience to the role, as a former Wallabies assistant coach in 2013-2014 and Super Rugby-winning assistant with the Reds in 2011 and 2021 with a decade and 144 games of coaching in the southern hemisphere’s premier rugby competition. He recently joined Noosa Dolphins as head coach for the 2024 Sunshine Coast rugby season.
The club is now calling for expressions of interest from young men across Australia with rural/regional backgrounds interested in the upcoming tour ‘For King and Country’, which will include matches against historic clubs Oxford University and Cambridge University.
Australian Stockman head coach Jim McKay said: “I’m looking forward to being involved with Stockman Rugby’s ‘For King and Country’ tour.
“Having progressed from grassroots rugby myself, I see this opportunity as a way to connect back into the pathways of the community game and the further development of players, who will be selected for this tour from various competitions across Australia.
“I align with Stockman Rugby’s holistic player development focus and I’m looking forward to building new rugby relationships and working with the group both on and off the field, in particular the group conversations we will conduct around important men’s health topics.
“Rugby and sport in general is such a great vehicle to foster life skills and connect people together as a team. I expect the 2024 squad to rise to the occasion and overcome the challenges they will face in playing quality teams such as Cambridge and Oxford universities.”
Founded in Longreach in 2013, the Stockman is an invitational representative side providing athletic and personal development opportunities for amateur rugby union players from regional Australia, with a strong focus on positive conversations around men’s health issues.
Australian Stockman President Shaun Mackin said: “We’re thrilled to have Jim invest in Australian Stockman in 2024. His experience speaks for itself. He will be a great leader and mentor for our young men.
“In partnership with a number of Australian professional players, we provide rugby development opportunities for grassroots players with country backgrounds and use rugby as a vehicle to discuss men’s health issues such as suicide, depression and substance abuse.
We expect these young Australians to leave the Stockman tours as better rugby players and better blokes. Now’s the time for grass-roots rugby players with a rural or regional background to answer the call ‘For King and Country’.”
World Cup-winning Wallabies legend and Stockman ambassador John Eales OAM said: “Stockman Rugby provides young men from country Australia with a golden opportunity to grow as players and people.
“International rugby tours are a great way to develop life experience, while also testing yourself at a representative level. This is an invaluable, potentially life-changing opportunity for regional rugby players.
“I would encourage all Australian Rugby fans to get in behind the Australian Stockman Rugby Union because it is a great cause.”
The 2024 tour runs from 4-23 October 2024 with a warm-up match and launch event in Sydney, followed by four matches against English club sides. The three-week tour will also feature cultural immersion activities along with personal development workshops, with a specific focus on wellness and mental health.
For King and Country is the fifth tour initiative by Stockman Rugby, having previously toured New Zealand (2013), Ireland (2015), North Queensland (2016), New Zealand and Argentina (2017) and Perth (2018).
Interested players can submit their expression of interest at https://bit.ly/StockmanPlayerSubs. Players are selected on ability, potential, strength and fitness markers and character. While Stockman Rugby aims to subsidise some costs through sponsorship and fundraising, tours are largely self-funded by the touring squad.
Media resources including photos and b-roll: https://bit.ly/StockmanMedia
Stockman Rugby is an initiative of Little Windmills: the Country Kids Charity, a not-for-profit with three key programs - financially assisting seriously sick and injured children in regional, rural and remote Australia, disaster relief for Australians displaced by natural disasters and the Stockman Rugby Union program.