A big and parochial crowd was one of the highlights of the NSW Positive Rugby Foundation City v Country Carnival which was held at the fantastic Newcastle Sports Ground No.2 on Sunday 4th August. The Wanderers club hosted NSW Juniors for the annual clash of the junior affiliates in Sydney Junior Rugby Union (SJRU) and NSW Country Junior Rugby Union (CJRU). It was a beautiful day for rugby at a superb venue which saw five fixtures on the schedule - the traditional boys games in the U14, U15 and U16 age groups, to be joined by the girls U17 fixture and making its debut was the girls U15 fixture. Our traditional U18 fixture was played earlier in the year as a one-off game.
All the games were live-streamed this year by BarTV - Highlights can be found here
The U14 Game was first up and a very strong and physical Sydney team proved too strong for a valiant Country team, taking the 'Tim Gavin Shield' with a 48-7 win.
The U15 girls were welcomed to the field with a HUGE tunnel for both teams as they ran on for the very first clash. In a cracking game the Country girls scored first and looked like they might run away with it before the Sydney team hit back with a try of their own. Scores were locked at 5-5 for the majority of the game before 2 late tries sealed the deal for Sydney. The Sydney girls holding the 'Mahalia Murphy Shield' for the first time.
The U15 Boys then came out and lifted the bar again - Sydney scored two wonderful tries with very slick backline moves to take the early lead but NSW Country came back to level the game up and a draw looked likely. But as with the girls game prior - Sydney scored late and their right winger sealed the match with his third try to clinch the win 27-17. SJRU win the Steve "Tuynman Cup" for 2019.
The 'Grace Hamilton Shield' was up for grabs in the U17 Girls match - NSW Country had been the only team to have won this fixture so far, but Sydney were coming off a win in their most recent encounter at the Australian Schoolgirls & U18 Nationals. Sydney moved into their groove quickly and raced to a lead, but the Country girls showed plenty of grit to hold their own. A few more tries flowed later in the game and Sydney won their first Grace Hamilton Shield 46-5.
The U16 boys clash had double meaning for the teams - As well as being the traditional City vs Country clash it was also the sixth and last game of the NSW Positive Rugby Foundation U16 Invitational (which is the selection tournament between, SJRU, CJRU and NSW Schools for places in the two NSW teams to contest the U16 Nationals later in the year). Selectors were on hand to finalize their squads and 'sheep stations' were up for grabs. Sydney started the better and rushed to a lead which they held reasonably comfortably at halftime. But the Country boys had other ideas and stormed home in the second half to snatch the win and take home the "Ella Cup" for 2019.
For the record the U18 clash was held in mid June and Sydney took the "Michael Brial Cup" with a close 24-18 victory at Chatswood Oval. The game was so close that when NSWJRU teams were selected that evening, 12 Country and 11 Sydney players made the final team.
Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers from Wanderers whom ensured the players, officials and spectators had a fantastic day. Thanks to the volunteer coachs, managers and officials from SJRU, CJRU and NSW Juniors for their efforts in providing these young boys and girls the opportunity to play and experience rugby at a higher level.
Good luck to all those in contention for NSW Gen Blue or Gold Cup selections and i hope you all have a great finish to your seasons
President NSW Juniors