Academy and Norths speedster Blair Connor signs with Reds



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Australian Under 20, QAS Reds Academy and Norths’ Trinity Premier Rugby speedster Blair Connor has signed a two year deal to join the QR Reds squad for 2009-10.

Connor, who plays wing and centre, has been developed through the Norths Academy and the Reds’ system and is now ready to take the big step into the senior Reds squad, according to QRU Performance Rugby Manager Ben Whitaker.

‘Blair’s been part of ours and Norths’ development programs for a number of years, including the QAS Under 19s and two years in the Reds Academy, so we were well aware of his talents and have been helping him hone them,’ Whitaker said.

‘He showed during last year’s Australian Rugby Championship and in Trinity Premier Rugby this year that he’s an exciting player and a tough little rooster.’

Connor, who turns 20 later this year, weighs in at just 82kg but Academy coach Paul Carozza says he’s ‘all muscle’.

‘Blair is electric off the mark and because he’s very fit he involves himself a lot in attack and defence. He’s a fearless defender, very courageous,’ Carozza said.

Carozza, himself accustomed to playing well above his size during his years on the wing with the Reds and Wallabies, said as Connor matures and starts training full time he will bulk up more, but his size hasn’t been an obstacle for him so far.

‘He’s been the standout performer in Premier Rugby this year, which is a culmination of the work he’s done with Norths and ourselves over the past couple of years,’ Carozza said.

Connor is the leading try scorer (9) in Premier Rugby and his club Norths are the competition front-runners after seven rounds. He’ll turn out for Norths at outside centre in Saturday’s top of the table clash with Brothers at Crosby Park (kickoff 3pm).

Connor played for the first 15 at Nudgee but didn’t make it into any schoolboy representative sides. However he’s made up for it since and will leave for Canberra next week to prepare for the inaugural (Under 20) iRB Junior World Championship to be held in Wales in June.

It will be his third national team in a year, having played in the Under 19s World Championship in Belfast in 2007 and also competed on the Sevens circuit in the current iRB World Series.

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