A group of mates will contest the inaugural Blue Mountains and Greater West Rugby Sevens Carnival in honour of Grant Opie, who tragically died in a house fire in Blaxland in 2012.
The 26-year-old builder was a former Blue Mountains Grammar School rugby captain and wore the number 7 jersey.
The Lapstone Grunts will contest the open men’s competition, wearing jerseys with 07 Opie on the sleeve.
Grant’s sister Leah said: “It’s awesome that they are all still so close as a group, coming together and playing a sport that they loved at school.”
Many members of the team are Blue Mountains Grammar old boys, live in the Lower Mountains and currently play for the Blueys.
The team took its name from an Opie family nickname for Grant.
“Mum called him Grunt ‘cause he mumbled all the time,” Leah said. “He [Grant] was really passionate about the sport. He loved the game, the camaraderie and was a good team player.”
Tournament director Chris Nay said the Lapstone Grunts were a strong side and were likely to win.
“They’re definitely ones to look out for,” he said.
He expected St Stannies Bathurst Old Boys and St Columba’s Old Boys to also perform strongly in the men’s competition.
Mr Nay said the winner of the schoolboys competition would take home the Grant Opie Cup, named in honour of the talented footballer.
Entries will still be accepted in the schoolboys and girls competition until January 15, with the tournament to be held January 28 on Blue Mountains Grammar School’s ovals and neighbouring Pitt Park in Wentworth Falls. Teams from between Bathurst to Penrith are taking part.
Mr Nay said McGrath Real Estate was the major sponsor of the tournament, and he really appreciated it coming on board. OVO Mobile, Muscle Bros Penrith, One Point Health and Codmah have also provided sponsorship.
The entire competition will be live streamed on YouTube, with commentary provided by Jono Lees, Gary Kime and Matt Poynting from The Sporting Chance. Jed Holloway from the NSW Waratahs will be at the carnival, and several stars from the Australian rugby sevens men’s and women’s teams will make an appearance.