Budding sportsman Angus Blyth is one step closer to realising his dream of playing professional rugby thanks to dual Rugby World Cup winner John Eales and benefactor Terry Jackman.
The Year 12 student was awarded Bond University's John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship after a country-wide search to find exceptional rugby players who also possess strong academic, leadership and community skills.
The scholarship is designed to allow students to focus on their rugby careers while preparing for life after sport with an undergraduate degree from Australia's leading independent university.
In addition to training with the Gold Coast's Bond University Rugby Club under head coach Sean Hedger, the scholarship recipient will receive personal mentoring from Eales, both on and off the field.
The Southport School (TSS) student Angus Blyth, who recently signed with the Queensland Reds, quickly developed a passion for the sport after playing his first game for Casuarina Beach Junior Rugby at 10 years of age.
Angus, who loves the physicality of rugby and is a talented defender, was selected for the Australian Schoolboys Barbarians team this year, following two strong seasons in the First XV for TSS and having trained with the Reds schoolboy development squad this year.
Angus is also an active member of the Casuarina community, participating in volunteer work, surf lifesaving and assisting in the training of younger rugby players at his club.
With a passion for all things business, Angus will undertake a Bachelor of Commerce at Bond starting in January next year, and is looking forward to striking a balance between study and sport.
"I'm excited to begin both my sporting and academic careers at Bond next year," he said.
"I would like to continue my passion for business after my rugby career has finished and this scholarship will give me the ability to set myself up to be successful in both my chosen fields.
"To be able to study and progress in my sporting career simultaneously is a dream come true.
"I have seen the amazing facilities at Bond and plan to live on campus and immerse myself in university life as much as I can.
"I look forward to meeting new people and making the most of the opportunities available through studying at such an outstanding university."
Angus said his first big goal for 2017 was to represent Australia in the Under 20s Rugby World Championships.
"I plan to work on my off-season fitness to be able to play in the Queensland Under 20s by the beginning of 2017, then after that I hope to make the Australian Under 20 squad to play over in Georgia at the Under 20 Rugby World Championships.
"Having the assistance of an iconic player such as John Eales, who is someone I have looked up to my whole life and seen as a real hero, will be a major asset in helping take my rugby career to the next level."
Bond University’s Executive Director of Sport, Garry Nucifora, said Angus was a worthy recipient of the country’s most coveted rugby scholarship.
"Angus is an outstanding young rugby player with a solid sense of civic responsibility and the potential to become a strong leader, both on and off the field, in the future,” he said.
“Bond University Rugby Club has sired many talented players who have gone on to professional rugby careers in Australia and abroad, and the quality of our coaches and rugby facilities is second-to-none.
"The John Eales Rugby Excellence scholarship gives its recipients the freedom to focus on achieving sporting excellence, while at the same time receiving a first-class education and establishing a global network of high-profile sporting and industry connections.
"I look forward to welcoming Angus to Bond in 2017."
Patron of the John Eales Rugby Excellence Scholarship and Bond University Trustee Member, Terry Jackman, said the scholarship recipients were exposed to many opportunities during their time at Bond.
"Bond’s tight-knit rugby community will provide extensive support and opportunities to Angus both on and off the field," he said.
“The Bond alumni also hosts an impressive cohort of sporting stars with years of experience and knowledge on how to balance a sporting and academic career, which will prove invaluable to him.
“I wish Angus every success at Bond and in his future career.”
Applications for this scholarship will reopen on April 1, 2017.