It has been widely publicised that Junior Rugby numbers have never been healthier and that the game is going gang busters among the juniors. I have my doubts about the accuracy of these statements based on what I see around the traps, but will defer to those who know better, see more and are closer to the coal face than me. It heartens me to hear reports like those from [USER=6953]Dave Beat[/USER] about the resurrection of a long dormant junior Village club, and [USER=2980]WorkingClassRugger[/USER] about a major increase of player numbers at St Gregs Campbelltown, and various reporters about a very healthy increase in Colts numbers at Two Blues (and Gordon). With the 2013 season around the corner, this thread is for discussion of matters related to Junior Village Club footy in Sydney. What worries me is reports I am hearing that they are struggling for numbers in Under 17/Opens this year, to an extent that there may not even be a competition. I hope this isn’t the case. The increasing physicality of Schoolboy Open Rugby in CAS/ISA/GPS means that many kids find that they can’t back up for their Clubs on Sunday, or their schools won’t let them. As many of the better CHS and CCC rugby players migrate towards the CAS/ISA/GPS schools in their senior years, with or without “inducements”, there is a negative impact on player numbers and overall skill standards in the SJRU competition. Kids who are genuine 3rd division players are forced to play up against 1st Division players, because there aren’t the numbers of players registering for SJRU to allow them to choice to play in a Division more suited to their ability. Facing this prospect, many kids decide not to play. Sad. There is the incentive of the National U16 Rugby Championship to “encourage” kids to register with SJRU to have a chance to showcase their talent at State Champs to get a second chance for Rep Selection. This has lead to many kids registering with SJRU clubs but not playing. AJRU and NSWJRU have celebrated the success of the recently established Under 17 National Championship as an alternative pathway to keep kids “in the game”. Not sure how successful this strategy has been, but it doesn’t appear to be something that kids (and parents) are prepared to “bend the rules” or “exploit eligibility loopholes”, like happens at U16 level, to ensure that they remain in front of the “influential” selectors and talent scouts. The talented CHS/CCC boys (and the moonlighting CAS/GPS/ISA boys) seem to be heading towards playing Shute Shield Club Colts footy to play at a “competitive” level . Will these boys be eligible to play for Sydney Juniors/NSW Juniors? Technically no but …… The Private School Rugby “Arms race” does create collateral damage. CCC/CHS and SJRU seem to the innocent victims.