Central North & New England to skip NSW Country Championships in Warren

By Matt Findlay It's disappointing neither Central North nor New England will contest this year's Richardson Shield, NSW Country Rugby Union (NSWCRU) president Barry Ruddy admits, but the way the two zones have rallied together in their bid to form a hybrid side to take their place is "incredibly heartening". Citing a lack of player interest as the main reason, in mid-February both Central North and New England both announced they wouldn't be able to field opens or colts XVs at this year's NSW Country Championships at Warren, in April. But with the backing of and plenty of support from NSWCRU, they've combined and formed the skeleton of an outfit that's expected to take on Far North Coast, Central Coast and hosts Western Plains in this year's second tier and give the two zones' stars a chance to press their claims for Country Cockatoos selection. The side's been labelled the Northern Bushrangers and in Ruddy's eyes, the combination actually makes a lot of sense. "New Eng
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