NSWJRU State Championships to include NSW Country Champs and SJRU Metro Champs.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

NSW Juniors, along with NSW Country and Sydney Juniors are proud to announce that they will be altering the format of the Junior Championships in 2022. A move that will see the Country Champs and a brand new SJRU METRO Champs both integrate into the Positive Rugby Foundation NSW Junior State Championships all held over the June long weekend. **Note that this is only for the U14 age group and up (Boys & Girls) - U12 & U13 State Champs remain the same.

What it means is that the NSW Country Champs which were traditionally held in May will now be rolled into the NSWJRU State Champs and played together on the June Long weekend. The Country Zones will all be on the same side of the draw and will compete against each other in two pools over the first two days of the State Champs. At the end of the pool games, the top Country side from Pool A will play the top Country side from Pool B for the Country Champs final. The same will occur for 2nd v 2nd in each pool etc. So these pool games double as a Country Champs AND as State Champs pool games, giving us a ranking of all the Country side of the draw at the end of day 2.

SAMPLE ONLY - Indicative Draw Format for 20 team State Champs

On the other side of the draw sees a new SJRU METRO Champs being introduced using the same format. Two pool have teams playing each other with the 1st ranked sides playing off for the SJRU METRO Champs and giving us a ranking of all the SJRU Districts at the end of day 2.

From here, on the Monday, we move directly into the NSWJRU State Champs Finals series. These will be held in a Cup/Plate/Bowl format so it ensures that on the final day we should have a fairly equitable level of strength across the 3 levels of competition.

SAMPLE ONLY - Indicative Rankings after Pool Games for a 20 team State Champs

The split will see the top 8 teams move through to the Quarter Finals of the CUP, with the next 6 teams into a PLATE series and the last 6 into a BOWL series. As the two sides of the draw will not necessarily be of equal numbers(12x Districts & 8x Zones), so the progression to the top 8 will be done on a percentage basis. This will obviously vary from year to year and age group to age group as we may not always get every team turn up on any given year. On a full 20 teams the split would be 5 x SJRU & 3 x CRU progressing to CUP.

SAMPLE ONLY - Indicative Finals Series on the Monday of a 20 team State Champs draw

This model guarantees every team a full three days of rugby with the last day being against teams of roughly equal strength. It also means they finish with some good close rugby and all teams are in the running for a major or minor trophy series.

So why are we making these changes?  

·        To reduce the time and cost of NSW Country Zones to attend both a Country Champs and a State Champs as separate events.

·        To entice more Country teams to attend the State Champs (as many choose to only do one tournament due to the afore mentioned costs, time etc).

·        To align the NSW Country Rep window/timetable with the SJRU Rep program.

·        To push back the Country Rep window & thus increase the time players have with their CLUBS before any Rep commitments start (ie not picking Rep teams before Club even started).

·        Give the SJRU Districts their own METRO Championships comparable to the Country Champs that the Zones already have.

·        To enable GEN BLUE to have ALL players at one spot for Talent Identification purposes.

·        Give the lower ranked teams a PLATE and BOWL Final series to play for on the Monday.

Please note that the U12 and U13 NSWJRU State Championships format will remain the same.

On occasion NSW Juniors does invite external teams to compete in the NSWJRU State Champs, in an effort to support the growth of rugby outside our boundaries. We have carried on this tradition of helping foster such growth since our inception in1957. This is targeted at more regional based teams (which are on par with our Districts and Zones) rather than Provincial sides which have the new RA Academy model in place now. Such external teams will be placed in the side of the draw that serves the competition best.

The Country Champs and Metro Champs is about finding the strongest team of these affiliates therefore these finals will be played from affiliate teams only (ie the strongest 2 on each side of the draw) – if an external team tops the pool then they will proceed to State Champs Qtrs on their pool games ranking and play the alternate team in the Pool play-offs.

It is an exciting prospect that will make the 2022 NSWJRU State Championships an even bigger festival of rugby.

We will see you all at a host venue next June. We cannot wait.

Ben Gregory

President - NSW Junior Rugby Union