Ed Stubbs (OC 2006), Professional Rugby Player
Ed Stubbs, who has been a professional rugby player for the last eight years, found his love and talent for the game at Cranbrook. He arrived at the school as a pre-schooler at St Michael’s in 1992, and his sporting ability emerged by the early 2000s with a wide spectrum of sporting interests. Ed was on the athletics and swimming squads, as well as the basketball and rugby teams.1 He narrowed his sporting focus in 2005, when he was in Year 11, to basketball and rugby. He played for the 1st XV, also playing for NSW U16, and he remained in the 1st XV until he graduated at the end of 2006.
“Stubbsy” was also lightning quick, which would ultimately make him a great fit for the Rugby Sevens. Sevens was recently recognised as an Olympic sport, making its debut in the 2016 Summer Olympics. It is an open and quick-fire game, with seven rather than the normal fifteen players on the field. It has only five interchanges, and seven-minute halves rather than 40 minutes. These conditions make for an exciting spectacle, and they tend to favour players who are fast, elusive and have great aerobic capacity. Ed Stubbs has these capabilities in spades, and he represented Australia from 2010 to 2012 playing for the Australian Sevens.
In 2009, Ed was invited to join the academy for the Canberra Brumbies, making his debut for them in the 2010 Super Rugby season. In 2012, he joined the Western Force, Western Australia’s Super Rugby team, as part of that team’s plans to improve its backline. His first game was in front of a home crowd, when the Force took the field against the heavyweight Crusaders, and Ed played his part in achieving an ‘upset’ win for his new side. He delivered a crunching tackle just before half-time, which forced a turnover and preserved the Force’s lead. Interviewed after the game, Ed commented that, “winning at home in front of the ‘sea of blue’ was a pretty amazing experience for my first [game for the Force]”.2
In August 2017, the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) shocked fans by announcing its intention to cut the Western Force from the Super Rugby competition as part of a plan to reduce the competition from 18 teams down to 15. In September, Rugby WA lost its appeal in the courts challenging the decision. Rugby WA is presently developing plans for an Indo Pacific Rugby Championship, which would be held annually commencing in 2019, and would help to provide a pathway for Western Australian players.
- 1. Ed’s sporting participation and achievement at Cranbrook included: Athletics CAS Squad 2001, 2002, CAS Athletics Team 2002, 2003, CAS Athletics 2004; Rugby 13A 2001, 13A 2002, 14A 2003, 15A 2004, 1st XV 2005, 1st XV 2006, NSW U16 1st XI 2005, CAS U16 1st XV 2005, CAS 2nd XV 2006, Swimming CAS Squad 2000, 2003, Basketball 13A/8B 2001, 8B/9B 2002, 9B/10B 2003, 10A/3rds 2004, 3rds/2nd V 2005, 2nd V 2006. “Year in Review – Year 12”, The Cranbrookian, Vol. LXXXVI, Dec 2006, p. 49.
- 2. See the whole interview: “MAGIC MOMENT: Hard-hitting Stubbs debuts for Force”, on YouTube, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGYwpZGgZbc. See also “Ed Stubbs Rugby Highlights”, on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aBgeHA1SK0.