The NSW U18s to watch from outside the private school pathway

NSW Waratahs U18s Academy coaching staff, Pathways coordinator Matthew Evrard and Head of Talent Management Andrew Cleverley have handpicked a number of young players from rather unique development pathways to feature in his squad ahead of this weekend’s matches against two QLD U18s teams this Saturday.

A few years back, Rugby Australia rejigged the Youth rep program to include all under 18 players, even those not at school. This has opened the door to young school finishers, tradies and rugby players from a variety of different backgrounds to make representative teams across all of the states and including the Australian Schools and U18 team.

This team was rebranded from the Australian Schools team.

Those players had the opportunity to turn up to open trials for the Sydney Open representative team that competed alongside the likes of GPS, CAS, ISA, CCC, AICES and NSW Country in trials to make the Waratahs Academy U18 side.

Cleverley noted that the introduction of Hudl, a platform that allows coaches to watch rugby matches, including the Shute Shield colts competition, had helped his coaches find the best U18 talent in the state.

Here are a few that will wear NSW colours this weekend:

Fergus Gillian - A big strapping lock from Lennox Head, Gillian was spotted by Cleverley at the NSW Country U16s Championships last year, where he was picked as the tournament’s best forward, and invited to join the Waratahs Academy.