The 2020 rugby union season is right around the corner and the under-14s and under-16s Blue Boars teams are keen and ready for their July 31 kick-off.
The Blue Boars juniors will once again play in the Friday night regional competition, the third year in a row for the boys and the first for the new-look girls’ sides.
The boys’ teams will play 15-a-side rugby while the girls’ competition is a sevens one.
The draws have not yet been released, but both of the boys’ sides are expected to play eight games including six regular season games and two finals matches.
However the amount of games that the girls’ teams will play has not yet been finalised.
The two girls’ teams are the newest additions to the Narrabri Junior Rugby Club.
Former Narrabri Rugby Club senior players Denis Harvey and Matt Jones are coaching the girls this season alongside current Blue Boars women’s sevens player Zoe Tomlinson.
Harvey said the two teams had been training hard and learning a lot about the sport, and that he was excited to watch them compete for the first time as Blue Boars at the end of the month.
“We have a fantastic bunch of girls,” Harvey said.
“They have great attitudes, they are good to deal with, they are extremely coachable and all they want to do is play rugby.
“Jonesy and I have been really focusing on the basics, tackling technique, cleanout technique, catch and pass and body shape.
“We’ve also been teaching them to stay alive, sevens rugby is quite different to 15-a-side.
“Everything we throw at the girls they want more.
“Every night at training they are there ready to start right on 6.30pm, they get stuck in and don’t whinge, they are a fantastic young bunch of girls.
“I cannot wait for them to play, we hope to get them as much footy as we can this year.”
Harvey added that the team had the potential to win premierships in the senior women’s competition in the future.
“If these girls stick together for the next three or four years I have no doubt that a good portion of them will be playing in the opens women’s team and can win a premiership,” he said.
“With a few years of development they’ll be tearing teams to shreds.”
Harvey said that any girls keen on a game were welcome to get in contact with him and come along to training.
“We have about 20 to 25 girls coming along to training now two weeks in,” he said.
“That’s about an even number of under-14s and under-16s.
“There’s maybe 11 to 12 in each age group so there’s certainly more room, anyone interested in playing should contact me.”
The Narrabri Junior Rugby Club’s under-16s boys’ team will be coached by Ken Campbell and Chris Watkins.
The under-16s team includes mostly players from the previous two under-14s championship-winning sides that went through both the 2018 and 2019 seasons undefeated, with a few additions.
Campbell said that he had a lot of confidence in the side for both 2020 and beyond.
“We’ve got a good mix of those under-14s winning guys who come together again and a couple of new faces which is good,” Campbell said.
“I think with the experience of the older players, the younger players will get better.
“We aren’t the biggest team but we’ll give this comp another red hot crack I reckon.
“They are a great group of kids, they are very respectful and we have a good club culture, I think this group of kids can definitely win premierships for the Blue Boars seniors in years to come.
“Over the next eight to 10 years there’ll be a core of a very strong first grade team and that’s what I would like to see.”
The under-16s team has about 17 players currently on its roster and about 15 have consistently turned up to training each week.
The under-14s team will be coached by Blue Boars club legend Chris Fowler and Clayton Pursche.
The team currently has about 15 players signed up which Fowler said he hoped would increase in the next few weeks.
“We’re not loaded with numbers at the moment but hopefully we’ll pick up a few more in the next few weeks,” Fowler said.
“We have 15 on paper but we haven’t been getting 15 at training every week.
“If we got to 20 that would be great.
“Our team environment is great, we have a really good bunch of kids, and this club has great people at it and you can make great friends.
“We are also really lucky to have the facilities here that we do.”
Campbell and Fowler said that any teenage boys thinking of playing rugby should come along to training on Tuesdays and Thursday at Dangar Park.
The Friday night competitions allow Blue Boars juniors to back up on Saturday or Sunday in other sports like rugby league and soccer.
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