AUSTRALIAN rugby has lost one of its bright young talents with star schoolboys backrower Charlie Rorke signing with the Canberra Raiders on a two-year rookie contract.
The 17-year-old from Sydney, who is currently completing his high school certificate at St Ignatius’ College, Riverview, follows in the footsteps of South Sydney Rabbitohs star Angus Crichton, who represented Australia’s Schoolboys rugby team in 2013.
Rorke was a member of New South Wales’ under-19s Gen Blue rugby side this season and represented Australia schools in 2016 and 2017.
He played at blindside flanker in Saturday’s 34-11 loss to New Zealand Schools at TG Millner Field.
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A hardworking backrower with phenomenal leg drive, Rorke was being viewed as a potential future hooker in rugby.
The Raiders are yet to announce the deal.
But foxsports.com.au understands Rorke has decided to join Ricky Stuart — himself a former Australia Schoolboys rugby player — at the Raiders and is being viewed as a backrower with strong ballcarrying and offloading ability.
Rorke met with both Brumbies and Raiders officials, but ultimately settled on the NRL club, believing it would better set up his chance of a professional career.
Australia’s miserable Super Rugby season in 2017 — in which no club beat a New Zealand team and the Force were messily culled — is believed to have contributed to Rorke’s departure.
Speaking to foxsports.com.au last week, Australia Schools coach Pat Langtry said Rorke had a bright future in rugby.
“Charlie likes the physical side of the game, he prepares well, asks good questions but he’s one of those kids that you kind of just let him play,” Langtry said.
“The way he challenges teams, both in attack and defence is worth a second look.”
Despite coming from a rugby background — his uncle Hayden is president of the Gordon Rugby Club — Rorke also played league as a junior in his home suburb of Berowra.
His older brother, Harry, played league for the Manly Sea Eagles under-20s, but has since returned to rugby.