Each year we are inundated with questions about the various Rep rugby pathways in NSW. These include not only both the NSW Juniors (club) and the NSW Schools pathways but also the Elite NSWRU pathways through the GEN Blue and Academy programs. To provide a level of transparency and clarity around these different pathways, NSW Juniors, NSW Schools and NSWRU have worked closely together to simplify and align all these pathways to ensure that all elements of rugby within NSW have a vibrant and inclusive pathway to higher levels of rugby.
So to clarify these pathways for the different age groups we have put together some simple 'Roadmaps' which hopefully clearly state the stages for each age group along thee pathways.
To see a video presentation of the boys pathways click here
In the U10 and U11 age groups the players are still considered to be playing under pathways rules - that is they are on a slightly modified field size, with 12 players in each team and with slight law variations as they are essentially still being introduced to the game. NSW Juniors hosts the Positive Rugby Foundation NSW Junior State Gala for these ages which in 2020 will be held at the Tuggerah Sports Complex on the Central Coast. Our tournament hosts will be Central Coast Juniors and will be held on the weekend of 18th & 19th July.
This tournament has no finals - it is purely a round robin where all teams will play 3 games on each day. The essence of this tournament is about fun and the enjoyment of the game, whilst still providing an entry level experience to Rep rugby. Zones and Districts are invited to enter two teams of up to 18 players in each squad and we do ask that they they be graded into A & B levels so that we can match like-for-like teams and avoid potential blow-outs by mismatching teams. As this is a development age group we do also extend invitations to groups such as the Lloyd McDermott Foundation to assist in their promotion of rugby.
The atmosphere is all about fun and includes relay races and novelty events to add to the experience. This is already and iconic event in our calendar and well worth the trip. There are no further teams selected from this tournament.
The U12 and U13 age groups have their pinnacle as the Positive Rugby Foundation NSW Junior State Championships. At these age groups it is a proper competitive tournament - we do play finals for a trophy and will declare a State Champion team at the end of the weekend. There are no further Rep teams selected from these age groups.
In 2020 these State Championships will be held on the June long weekend (6th-8th June) and our hosts for the U12 State Championships will be the Camden Rugby club out at Camden Rugby Park. For the U13 age group our hosts will be the Dubbo Roos Junior Rugby club with Apex Oval in Dubbo being the venue. Two magnificent venues for what is always a great weekend of junior rugby.
The under 14 age group is the first step in the pathway where there are further teams selected from the State Champs (& Country Champs) that will go onto play higher level fixtures.
The State Championships for the U14 age group are held in Orange over the June long weekend (6th-8th June). Our 2020 host club is Orange Emus with Endeavour Oval as the venue. The Country Champs for the U14s are held earlier in mid May.
NSW Country will select an U14 team from their Country Championships. Sydney Junior Rugby Union (SJRU) will select a squad of 35-40 from the State Championships. SJRU will then train this squad up until the Positive Rugby Foundation NSW Regionals (4th-5th July at Grantham Oval hosted by Blacktown Scorpions Junior Rugby) where they will be split into a 'possibles' and 'probables' and play a selection trial game. This game is held on the Saturday the 4th July. From here the coaching squad will select a SJRU Barbarians that will play a trial game against NSW Country on Sunday 5th July. A final SJRU U14 team will then be announced.
The NSW Country U14 and Sydney U14 teams will then compete at the Positive Rugby Foundation NSW City vs Country Carnival on Sunday 2nd Aug (venue TBA) for the Tim Gavin Shield. No further Rep teams are selected from this carnival but often development players are identified to participate in the U15 Gen Blue program.
At the U15 age group the Representative pathway steps up a notch. For NSW Country the first step is their Country Champs from where they will select their NSW Country U15 team. For SJRU the Positive Rugby Foundation NSW Junior State Champs are the first port of call for the selectors and players alike. In 2020 these State Champs will be hosted by West Harbour Juniors at St Lukes Ovals at Concord.
From the State Champs SJRU will selected FOUR Rep teams which will go on to contest the Positive Rugby Foundation Regionals at Grantham Oval on 4th & 5th August alongside the NSW Country side. The four SJRU teams selected are Metropolitan Northern Zone (MNZ), Metropolitan Western Zone (MWZ), Metropolitan Southern Zone (MSZ) and the SJRU Barbarians (Baa Baa). The Regionals tournament serves as a selection trial for the Sydney U15 team.
Both the CJRU and SJRU U15 teams will then compete for the Steve Tuynman Cup at the City v Country Carnival on August 2nd. All games along this pathway will serve as selection trials for the NSW U15 Gen Blue Academy which is chosen for further rugby development later in the year.
All along the junior pathway there are weekly rugby competitions run by both clubs and schools associations. Many players will be actively playing for both their school and for their local club side along the way. The Under 16 age group is the first age group where (at a Rep level) these two pathways collide.
For the club players the road to the Country Champs and the NSW State Champs remains the same - albeit with a slight twist. NSW Country will select their team from their Country Champs (**but final selections will depend on NSW Schools selections on 29th June- keep reading). SJRU will select a squad of 35-40 players from the State Champs and will split them into 'possibles' and 'probables'.
At the same time the Schools Associations will be selecting their Rep teams (CHS, CCC, AICES, GPS, CAS & ISA) at various trial days across May and June.
Both NSW Country and the two SJRU U16 teams will compete at a trial day alongside CHS, AICES and CCC on June 14th (venue TBA) and from here the Sydney team will cut down to a final squad. But the final SJRU U16 team will not be announced until 29th June. (**again keep reading)
On the 27th and 28th June the NSW Schools associations will compete in trial games to determine selection into the NSW Schools I & II teams - these teams will be announced on 29th June.
NSW Schools, SJRU and CJRU all acknowledge that players coming thru their systems may also be eligible and coming through one of the others systems. As such when the final team selections are made a player whom is playing both club and school rugby could have been selected on two separate Rep teams. The associations have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to deal with such instances, whereby all commonly selected players will divided by the old 'school yard' pick. Each Association will have the 1st pick on alternate years - in 2020 it is CJRU's turn to pick 1st over NSW Schools & NSW Schools turn to pick 1st over SJRU. Shadow players are called into the teams to replace any common players lost in this system. This process takes place on the 29th June and final teams are announced after that.
The NSW Invitational is a round robin selection tournament on the 11th & 12th July where CJRU U16s, SJRU U16s and the NSW Schools I & II U16s all compete for selection into one of the two NSW U16 teams that will go the U16 Nationals on the 26th September.
NSW Country and Sydney U16s will also compete for the Ella Cup at the Positive Rugby Foundation NSW City vs Country Carnival on Sunday 2nd August.
The U18 Representative landscape is the area that has seen the most change in recent years. The quick summary of the pathway here is that all Associations -
School & Club (GPS, CAS, ISA, CCC, CHS, AICES, CJRU & SJRU) will compete in trail games together and from there the FIVE NSW teams that will be selected in 2020 will be chosen. These teams are two GEN BLUE Academy teams which will go on to compete against the other States Academy teams. Plus a further three teams (NSW Schools I & II and NSW Juniors) that will contest at the ASRU tournament at Riverview in early July.
To expand on this in more detail.
NSW Country will select their U18 team from their Country Champs in May. Sydney U18s will select their U18 team from two 'Open' trial days on April 26th and May 10th - all registered players in SJRU , SRU colts and Subbies colts that are still under 18 eligible are welcome to trial.
NSW Schools Associations (GPS, CAS, ISA, CHS, CCC & AICES) will all select their teams from various trials or competitions over May and June.
The issue of players that are eligible for both club and school pathways being selected in more than one team will depend predominantly upon which school association they are involved with. We know that there will be clashes on June 14th and June 26th with the various programs. Thus, players from CCC & ISA whom also are selected in a Sydney or Country U18s will need choose one pathway to follow and withdraw from the other. Players from CHS and AICES whom are dually selected may be able to do both but will involve a discussion between the coaching bodies of each team and the parents to determine if it is feasible to play in more than one pathway.
It doesn't really matter which pathway a player chooses as the associations are all playing trials against one another in front of the same selectors. All of these trial games are included in the selection process.
Trials days include (but not limited to) - 2nd June (AICES, CCC & CHS) - 14th June CCC, CHS, AICES, SJRU and CJRU will all compete in a big trial day together - 23rd June CAS vs GPS - 26th June ALL associations will compete together.
Sydney U18 and Country U18s will play each other for the Michael Brial Cup on Saturday 20th June at Chatswood Oval following the Gordon vs Randwick Shute Shield 1st grade fixture. Sydney U18 and NSW Country U18s also have another trial game against GPS Blue and White on Thursday 25th June at Northbridge (hosted by the Shore School).
So, lots of rugby and plenty of opportunities to impress selectors. Note to be considered for selection into one of the NSW teams, players MUST compete in these trials.
From these trials, five NSW teams will be selected as follows
o 2 x NSW Gen Blue teams (from any trial participant)
o 2 x NSWSRU teams (from students attending schools only)
o 1 x NSW Juniors team (from any trial participant)
All participants are expected to attend the trial day on the 26th June to be considered for selection in these teams – players injured in trial games prior to the 26th June and who live in the Greater Sydney area are expected to attend a medical at the trial venue in order for a decision on availability for the selected teams. Students/Players not in the greater area and in consideration for selection will be contacted by NSW Rugby with the NSW medical staff informing the selectors of any decisions re availability.
The NSW Gen Blue teams will play games against other State Academy teams on July 1 In Brisbane. The Rugby Au National camp will follow in Brisbane.
The NSW Schools teams and the NSW Junior team will compete in the Australian Schools Championships to be held at St Ignatius College between the 4 to 9 July. Teams to play Tonga in Queensland will be selected from these Championships and they will represent Australian Schools Barbarians and Australian Schools Presidents XV.
The NSW Gen Blue Academy teams will be re selected at the conclusion of the GPS, CAS and ISA competitions and these teams will play Queensland Academy teams at the end of term 3. The Australian Schools & U18 side and the Australian Schools & U18 “A” side will be selected to play Fiji and NZ Schools in October in Sydney.
Note - some answers to many FAQ's
o A player may only be selected for ONE of the five NSW teams.
o Players in the GEN BLUE Academy teams will not participate at the ASRU Championships at Riverview.
o Only players participating in the Association trials will be considered for selection into one of the NSW teams. Players MUST make themselves available to be eligible.
o The NSW Schools teams are open to any student playing for any of the Association teams including SJRU & CJRU.
o Players that have left school are only eligible for the GEN Blue teams and the NSW Juniors teams.
o The NSW Juniors team may have players from the school associations selected in it.
o Only players that are still at school are eligible for the Australian Schools Barbarians and Australian Schools Presidents XV.
o A player may be elevated to the GEN BLUE Academy teams following the ASRU tournament.
o The Australian Schools & U18 side and the Australian Schools & U18 “A” side will be selected from the Academy teams.
To see a video presentation of the girls pathways click here
The girls pathway across NSW Juniors and NSW Schools is done at 'even' number age groups (U12, U14, U16, U18). This covers both club and schools 7s and XVs pathways. But please note there is an exception with the NSWRU State 7s Championships in October (9th-11th) being based on odd years (U13, U15 and U17) – Also note that at this carnival U15 and U17s must be District/Zone teams.Any 7s Pathways beyond these State 7s Champs also being based on odd years.
The immense growth in the girls game has seen various 7s and XVs competitions begin across some of the associations. Many of these have already grown to begin or plan fledgling Representative programs, whilst others already have their Representative programs in full swing. NSWRU, NSW Schools & NSW Juniors will continue to work together to create an aligned pathway for the girls as these programs develop. Further calendar dates and stories can be found in the calendar section of the website.
At the U12 age group the girls will have options of playing amongst the boys in mixed teams across SJRU & CJRU competitions**. Or they will be playing in designated girls 7s competitions such as SJRU’s Sizzling 7s (15th Feb to 4th Apr) or Frosty 7s (27th Junto 8th Aug) – or in the dedicated XVs competition that SJRU run in the month of May (2nd to 30th May). There is no further representative options for girls playing at this introductory age level.
At the U14 age group the girls will have options of playing amongst the boys in mixed teams across SJRU & CJRU competitions**. Or they will be playing in designated girls 7s competitions such as SJRU’s Sizzling 7s(15th Feb to 4th Apr) or Frosty 7s (27th Jun to 8th Aug) – or in the dedicated XVs competition that SJRU run in the month of May (2nd to 30th May). The next level of development for the U14 age group is the Rugby 1st Girls NSWJRU State Championships. This is being run as a 10 a side competition (as a stepping stone from 7s to XVs) and will be held on the June long weekend (6th-8th June) at Boronia Park, Hunters Hill. The tournament is for District and Zone based teams but we will consider (on application) Barbarians teams at this age level to enable teams to be formed. There is no further representative options for girls at this stage but we do envisage an U14 City vs Country game for 2021.
**Note - the Rugby Australia Mixed Gender Dispensation policy which says that girl can play with boys up to and including U12s without any further approval needed, but from U13s – U15s if they want to play with boys they need to undergo a Mixed Gender Assessment (similar to a Size for Age assessment).
At the U16 age group the girls will be playing in designated girls 7s competitions such as SJRU’s Sizzling 7s (15th Feb to 4th Apr) or Frosty 7s (27th Jun to 8th Aug) – or in the dedicated XVs competition that SJRU run in the month of May (2nd to 30th May). For the NSW Country based players there is the Girls U16 Country Champs on 9th & 10th May. NSW Country will select a Country U16 team from these Champs. Following this is the Rugby 1st Girls NSWJRU State Championships which is a full XV a side tournament played at District / Zone level only and will be held on the June long weekend (6th to 8th June) at Boronia Park, Hunters Hill. From here girls from Sydney based districts can be selected in a squad to compete at the Positive Rugby Foundation Regionals (4th & 5th July at Grantham Oval). From here a SJRU U16 team will be selected to play NSW Country at the Positive Rugby Foundation NSWJRU City vs Country Carnival (2nd Aug). Discussion with Qld and Vic are in place to look to select an U16 NSWJRU team to play them in 2021.
At the U18 age group the girls will be playing in designated girls 7s competitions such as SJRU’s Sizzling 7s (15th Feb to 4th Apr) or Frosty 7s (27th Jun to 8th Aug) – or in the dedicated XVs competition that SJRU run in the month of May (2nd to 30th May). For the NSW Country based players there is the Girls U18 Country Champs on 9th & 10th May. NSW Country will select a Country U18 team from these Champs. Following this is the Rugby 1st Girls NSWJRU State Championships which is a full XV a side tournament played at District / Zone level only and will be held on the June long weekend (6th to 8th June) at Boronia Park, Hunters Hill. From here girls from Sydney based districts will be selected into a Sydney U18s.
On the 14th June the NSW Country and SJRU U18s teams will compete at a trial day with the NSW Schools associations players as part of a trial for possible Super W U18 selection. The Super W U18 tournament will be held in Canberra (5th to 9th July).
SJRU will also run their Spring 7s over the off-season starting on 18th Oct to 6th Dec across all ages.
For Girls in the Schools system there will also be Girls School trials on the 25th & 26th June ahead of the ASRU Championships (4th to 9th July) at Riverview where the girls will also compete.
CCC will be including a girls pathway for rugby this year. Trial on May 5 at TG Millner. Two teams of 12 players will be selected to compete in the u18s NSW All Schools Selection trials. Presently, rugby 7s is played by individual schools.
CHS will also develop their pathway this year – there is a group of Western Sydney schools that will play a trial on 19th July against NSW Country U18s. CHS will also have a 7s finals tournament usually held early in term 3. Schools qualify through regional gala days (usually organised in conjuction with NSW Rugby events and their DO's) throughout the year. This is for under 16 and 18 teams.
There is a Girls Rugby 7’s comp that runs Term 4 and Term 1 at Barker on Monday afternoons / evenings. Run by Barker College. It is open to any school.
There are also NSWCIS trials for Rugby 7’s to beheld on June 4th. Schools will nominate girls for this trial.
There is a PLC 7s competition running from 25th Jul to 5th Sep.
NSWPSSA State Rugby Championships for U12s is held in late August.
NSWPSSA Girls 7's Initiative Carnival (14 & 15 Sept 2020 - hosted by Hunter Region). We will again announce a merit Girls 7's NSW team comprising of 12 girls.
NSWPSSA looking to host National Competition Girls 7’s with School Sports Australia in 2021. Primarily for U12s.
The various affiliates - Sydney Juniors, NSW Country Juniors & NSW Schools all run a number of 7s competitions or carnivals across the season as part of they pathway programs. But the main pathway for Representative 7s in NSW is via the NSWRU State 7s tournament that is held in Foster on 9th to 11th October. This tournament is run by NSW Rugby, headed by Mick Doyle - but NSW Juniors have formed a sub-committee (headed by Luke McCormack) to assist NSW Rugby liaise with the affiliates.
The NSW State 7s tournament is run over the U13, U15 and U17 age groups.
The U13 age group is the initial development year and is open to various club teams, barbarian teams as well as the Zones and District teams.
The U15 and U17 age groups are restricted to District and Zone teams.
From this carnival a NSW U17 Boys and U17 Girls teams will be selected to attend the National Youth 7s on 27th to 29th November.
The World School 7s are to be held in NZ on 11th to 13th December.