AIC Graduates Making an Impact for Queensland Reds!

With the final round of the AIC Rugby Season this week, coinciding with the Super Rugby Pacific finals commencing, it is timely to have a look at the strong pathway that exists from the AIC Rugby competition into the Queensland Reds program. It is also important to acknowledge and thank the Queensland Reds and the Queensland Rugby Union for their support of AIC rugby.

The Reds are riding high in Super Rugby Pacific with five players who first built their skills in AIC rugby. This year the Rugby playing students in the AIC can look to the premier rugby team in Queensland to see Ryan Smith (St Patrick’s – 2013), Lawson Creighton (Padua -2015), John Bryant (St Laurence’s- 2020), Floyd Aubrey (Marist College Ashgrove- 2020), and Tim Ryan (St Patrick’s-2021). These AIC graduates have never forgotten their rugby origins.

Ryan Smith is a hard-working lock that has cemented himself as a critical member of the Reds forward pack. As a testament to both the sporting and cultural offerings at AIC schools like St Patrick’s, Ryan not only participated in Rugby, Swimming, Cross Country, Confraternity Rugby League and Track and Field but also featured in the St Patrick’s College musical and was a very talented debater. Ryan was the St Patrick’s Captain for both Swimming and Track and Field.

Ryan Smith – St Patrick’s College.

“I absolutely love St Pats. I didn’t have that many actual good wins but the best part was playing with my school mates,” Smith said.

“I really enjoyed being able to turn up and have something funny to talk about during the week rather than Maths B assignments. Instead of talking about exams, we’d be talking about who played well or didn’t.”

Lawson Creighton made his Reds debut in 2022 and has been a key contributor to the team in the fly-half position. Lawson is a versatile back and has the ability to play any position in the back line- this was highlighted in his time at Padua where he collected the award as Best First XV Back in 2015. For Creighton, 2015 was a season to savour with Padua going through the season undefeated as solo premiers for the first time and knocking over ‘heavyweights’ Marist College Ashgrove.

“It was a breakthrough for the school to beat Ashgrove and be the first to win the premiership outright as a First XV,” Creighton recalled.

“The 2011 team shared in the premiership but lost to Ashgrove. I was in Grade Eight and remember watching my brother Jack playing that year.

Lawson Creighton- playing for Padua

“I really enjoyed school footy. There’s nothing like playing with your mates.” Lawson said.

Just like his AIC Reds teammates, Lawson was an incredibly talented athlete in his time at Padua that included playing Volleyball, Confraternity Shield Rugby League and being awarded the most valuable player award for the Padua 3rds Tennis team in Year 12.

John Bryant made his Super Rugby debut for Queensland this year. John is a dynamic Number 8, whose impact through the forwards was clear during his time at St Laurence’s. John was an incredible on and off field leader at ‘Lauries’ and was an integral part of the St Laurence’s First XV team that secured the school’s first First XV premiership in 12 years in 2020. The foundation John laid with his teammates that year, was a large catalyst to St Laurence’s First XV claiming the next 3 premierships (2021-2023) undefeated. John was an inspiration to his school mates not just on the Rugby field, also representing St Laurence’s in Volleyball, Rugby League and Track and Field.

“The best memories for me are playing with my school mates, some who are still my closest mates,” said Bryant, who has stepped up at No.8 for the injured Harry Wilson.

John Bryant playing for St Laurence’s

“Just representing my school had a special meaning. I remember as a younger kid looking up to the guys who played in the black jersey.

“I always strived to get there one day for Lauries and I did. We were lucky enough to win the (shared) premiership in 2020.

“’Floydy’ has a bit to say about that. He reckons Marist would have beaten us. I reckon we definitely had them.

“On field, one of my favourite moments was packing down at the back of a scrum while all the boys were in the stand singing. That was pretty special.” John said.

Floyd Aubrey playing for Marist College Ashgrove

Floyd Aubrey made his starting debut in Super Rugby against the Drua last month and was able to secure a try in the game. Floyd was an integral part of the Marist College Ashgrove First XV premiership winning teams of 2019 and 2020 (2020 AIC Premiership was shared between Floyd’s Marist team and John Bryant’s Lauries team). Floyd was an outstanding fullback for the Marist College Ashgrove team but also showed his athletic talent and commitment to his school through his involvement in Volleyball, Rugby League and Track and Field. Aubrey’s silky handling skills and jinking runs were a big part of Marist College Ashgrove’s undefeated 2019 premiership run.

“I had really good experiences at Marist. It really helped me,” said Aubrey, whose younger brother Derek is in the 7As this year at Marist as a boarder.

“We were undefeated again in 2020 but it was the short season (because of Covid) so we never got to play Lauries.”

Tim Ryan has burst onto the Super Rugby scene in 2024 with a breakout season. The highlight being, scoring a hat trick of tries on his starting team debut in April against the Auckland Blues.  Tim was a try scoring phenomenon in his three years of First XV (2019-2021). He was a talented sportsman at St Patrick’s, representing the Shorncliffe school during his senior years in AFL, Rugby League and Track and Field. In 2021, his speed was on display by claiming 2nd place in the Open 100m at the AIC Championships.

“Shorncliffe days as a supporter or a player were great days. Running on and Curlew (Park) erupting is the best feeling,” winger Ryan recalled.

“The biggest wins we had in 2020-21 had to be “The Battle of the North” over Padua and a last-minute win over Iona, both at Curlew.

Tim Ryan playing for St Patrick’s

“Against Iona, our substitute halfback came on late and scored right at the end in the wet. The scrum was being pushed back, the ball came out the back, he stepped and scored. It was a match-winner and the crowd went off.”

It is wonderful to see the pride these 5 proud AIC graduates have for their schools and the experiences they had during their schoolboy days in the AIC competition. They are definitely positive role models for all students in the AIC and clearly demonstrate the pathway that exists between schoolboy rugby and professional rugby in our state.

The whole of the AIC community is encouraged to support the Queensland Reds as they embark on the Super Rugby Pacific finals series. This Friday evening (5:05pm kick off), the Reds will take on the Chiefs in Hamilton (New Zealand) in the quarter finals of the competition.

All AIC Rugby players are then encouraged to go out on Saturday in the final round of AIC fixtures and emulate these past AIC students.

Thank-you – Queensland Reds and Queensland Rugby Union Support

The Associated Independent Colleges would like to thank the Queensland Reds and Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) for their support of our Association and the AIC Rugby Competition. This support has included the supplying of QRU Match Managers for all First XV games, the providing of “Livestreaming” for all First XV matches through the Rugby Xplorer App and the development of all member College coaches through professional development and mentoring opportunities. Queensland Reds ‘Pathways’ staff also regularly attend fixtures and school-based training sessions to identify the next Ryan, Lawson, John, Floyd and Tim.