In what is a real positive for the game, Sydney club rugby unveiled some of its hidden depth in the boys under 18 (Opens) age group as about 100 aspirational representative players came together to trial for the 2019 Sydney U18 side. Players came from clubs across all the various levels of rugby in Sydney including Premiership colts, NSW Suburban colts and Sydney Juniors.
The coaching crew of Mark (Space) Houston, Brett (Pickles) Fawcett and super-manager Mark (Rechers) Rechner brought together a trial schedule that gave each boy the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of a panel of at least a dozen selectors. The selectors worked in pods on each of the different positions to ensure every player was seen and given their best opportunity. Selectors included Andrew Heaven, Blake Cottle, Raul Reimer, Gordon Fell, Nick Marshall, Dan O’Hara, Mark Johns, Michael Goodrick, Doug Ryan, Andrew Lennon, Matt Andronicus and Justin Trollip.
At the end of the first week the squad was trimmed down to around 45-50 players. These players returned for the second trial and showcased their talents in a highly entertaining and skillful session from which the selectors then had to whittle them down to a final 23 man squad and shadows.
Players need to contact the manager to be advised of training sessions etc.
This team is the first step on the way to selection in the GEN BLUE Academy and from there to the Australian Schools & U18s team. The Sydney team will play against NSW Country U18s (Jun 15 - night game following 1st Grade Shute Shield at Chatswood Oval) and then backing up the next day against CHS (Jun 16 at Narrabeen). From here a NSWJRU I & II team will be selected to play against AAGPS (Thurs 27th Jun @ 5.00pm & 6.15pm, Boronia Park, Hunters Hill). The final NSWJRU I team will then make up part of the GEN BLUE Academy and have a camp at Waratahs HQ (Jul 1-3) before flying out to Perth to take on the Western Force Academ on 5th-6th July.
It is important to note that this is the club Rep pathway which compliments the Schools Rep pathway - both leading towards the GEN BLUE Academy. And we know some players are eligible for both school and club - as such players are required to only follow one pathway upon selection.Very hard to be in both teams that play against each other. Thus if a player is selected in Rep teams in both schools and club -they will need choose one and withdraw from the other...
So this (and injury) potentially opens up spots for Shadow players to be called into the team.
*Note these players are not required for initial training sessions, but may be called into the team if required.
**Late Update - David Aguirre & Dakota Pritchard have withdrawn from the team in favour of CHS, leaving Toa Suluka and Cameron Kruger to be called into the team.
Many thanks to all involved in this selection process - coaches, managers, selectors, referees, Andrew Cleverley from NSWRU and to Lindfield Junior Rugby Union for hosting the trials.