With Round One of Super Rugby next weekend, and the Sydney Sevens already done and dusted for another year, the 2019 Australian Rugby season is well and truly underway!
With that in mind, RUPA reached out to all of the current and former players on our Board to find out their thoughts on the year ahead; today, we hear from our youngest Board Director, Queensland Reds' Player Director Angus Scott-Young.
Angus, what are you most excited about, from an Australian Rugby perspective, in 2019?
"I am pretty excited personally, I'm coming off my first full professional year in 2018 and looking forward to playing more games this year.
"I am really looking forward to the Super Rugby season, all of the Australian teams have great talent and look like they'll be really competitive and within our squad in Queensland I think even though we're a young group it's time to perform, which excites me."
Which Australian player(s) are you most looking forward to watching in action this year, and why?
"From the Reds, spending every day with the boys in pre-season, I am particularly looking forward to seeing Jordy Petaia go about it. He's a freakish talent as an eighteen-year-old kid who came into our team last year and was a standout, and then achieved something pretty incredible by winning NRC Players' Player of the Year at the RUPA Awards. He's pretty electric, so it will be good to see how he goes.
"In terms of more established players, I think Samu Kerevi has had a really good pre-season from watching him at training. He came back from injury really well late last year and played some Wallaby games, so with him leading the group this year that will be great to see."
What does serving on the RUPA Board mean to you?
"I hadn't expected to take on such an important role with RUPA as a 21-year-old, and hadn't really been exposed to many of the nuances of Super Rugby, but it came up and I am really enjoying the opportunity so far.
"I think it is pretty gratifying to know that I am trying to voice the opinions of the players in the Super Rugby environment, especially the Reds, and I feel like I can complement the Board and represent that younger demographic as I have some strong connections with the boys in that age bracket (from playing in Australian U20s sides as well as the Reds). I feel I can represent their views in a way that does justice to them.
"I draw great satisfaction knowing that I am representing my peers in that way and I'm looking forward to seeing what I can achieve with RUPA."
What do you think is the single most pressing issue facing Australian Rugby heading into 2019?
"Obviously there have been a few issues with the game over the past couple of years, and I think improving results and pushing our claim again as an elite sporting nation will benefit the players on the field in terms of their happiness, but it will importantly stem out to help re-invigorate the fans and draw them to Rugby.
"On the back of success, it gives Rugby Australia the opportunity to do some really good things to foster those fans and it would be great to see them work with us to do everything that they can to support that."
What is your all-time favourite Australian Rugby memory?
"I've got heaps of great Wallaby memories growing up, obviously being a pretty Rugby-mad family and staying up to watch every Test, but one that really sticks in my mind is watching the Wallabies defeat the All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium in October 2017.
"We had just played the Drua in Fiji in the NRC, and we all gathered at the hotel and watched it on a big screen together. It was the first time that the Wallabies had worn the Indigenous jersey, and just seeing how they performed so well and showed so much passion in that game and a lot of grit, I really enjoyed that and it really inspired me.
"That was the breakout Wallabies season for two guys who I had been playing with in the Australian U20s for a couple of years; Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (formerly Lukhan Tui) and Izack Rodda. Although Izack didn't feature in that game, watching those two play throughout the year it really resonated with me, and with that particular performance the Wallabies played with a lot of pride."
Click here to see the 2019 Super Rugby fixture!