NSW Juniors announce changes to increase opportunity for players outside private school system 

NSW Juniors president Ben Gregory has announced a number of changes to the NSW U18 development pathway to increase opportunity for players from non traditional rugby schools and regional areas.

U18 players that have left school before the end of year 12 will also now have a pathway and exposure to the NSW Waratahs Gen Blue program under the new system.

“We have been working very hard with both NSW schools and the governing bodies at Rugby AU, NSW Waratahs, SJRU and CJRU to create a substantial and quality pathway for our players,” Gregory said.

The new pathway with see Sydney based U18 players trial for the Sydney U18s team at an open trial day in early April and regional based players trial for a NSW Country U18s side at the annual Country Championships.

Sydney U18s will then play NSW Country U18s on the June long weekend. A week later, the winner of that match will play Combined High Schools I (CHS) and the loser will play CHS II.

From those matches and the NSW Open State Championship, two NSW U18 sides will be selected to play ACT U18s and ACT U17s.

The teams will be reselected in late June ahead of matches against GPS Blue and GPS White, before a final NSW U18s squad is picked to play at the Division Two National Schools Championships on the Gold Coast in July.

The updated program will give NSW Waratahs and Gen Blue coaches greater opportunity to identify players of interest from outside of the traditional schools pathway for their 2019 development programs.

It’s also hoped the new program will help develop elite coaches, with the Sydney U18 and NSW Country U18 coaches set to coach the NSW U18s teams.