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Sydney Junior Rugby Union - 2013

Discussion in 'Schoolboy Rugby' started by Hugh Jarse, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    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.
    Inside Shoulder and Dave Beat like this.
  2. WorkingClassRugger Steve Williams (59)

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    The only way I can possibly see the CHS/CCC schools competing with the GPS/ISA/ISA schools is to effectively join them. With the assistance of the ARU there should be a concerted move to create more school Rugby set ups that involve getting kids to play in what effectively be school based clubs. Where recruitment is done directly via the school, they train on school grounds (or grounds nearby) and playing representing that school. It doesn't solve the issues for village clubs (but would give them a greater pool to recruit from) and it may have to become a system where between most of our juniors play a combined schools/village competition. I think it could and would work much to the surprise of many.

    It won't necessarily stop the top line talent from chasing the better educational opportunities but it would make the pool playing much larger. You may not get every school but you could effectively expand the team numbers particularly in the much under served Sydney South West and Greater West/Blue Mountains.
  3. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    Many issues here and before i identify them let me wholeheartedly endorse the holding of debate about how to make not so junior rugby accessible to more kids.
    Firstly, before it is assumed that all the private schools offer better educational opportunities someone needs to define those opportunities and measure them. Part of the reason that the GPS schools get away with attracting rugby talent is the perception that they will give the kid a better education. Have a look at the HSC results from the last few years and marvel at how many general non-selective high schools do better than the schools said to have these better educational opportunities. If parents were a little more discerning and did not assume that a GPS education was the be all and end all rugby generally might be less focussed on the GPS.
    Secondly, a school permitting or encouraging external kids into their sporting system is fraught with issues. Some that occur to me are:
    • Insurance
    • Supervision - schools would have no disciplinary power in relation to kids external to the school and this would be perceived as creating potential difficulties with disciplining their own students
    • Envy - people paying $30k per annum for access to all of a school's facilities would struggle to see why that school should permit people paying nothing or very little to use those facilities
    • Us and them mentality within teams
    I've made my suggestions in other threads but the fundamental goal is to remove all horizontal alternatives so that you have a single linear progression. The present problems occur because there are so many alternative paths that never meet.
    Sideline Eye likes this.
  4. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    As usual [USER=5977]Inside Shoulder[/USER], some very good points.

    As a partial counter/solution, I would suggest look south. IIRC the ACT manage to run a joint Club and School competition by necessity more than anything else. They must have addressed some of the issues you have raised. Canberra Grammar is one of the Elite Private Schools that mixes with the "unwashed" Village Club kids. Not sure about the fees there but they can't be too far behind the Sydney fees. Given the stereotype of left leaning greenie fat cat middle class bureaucratic public servants that the ACT unfortunately has, the "unwashed" peasantry in the ACT are probably a little more acceptable for the Grammar children to mix with.

    School facilities Envy. Outside of GPS, Elite schools do not always have access to elite and exclusive facilities. Waverley plays on public ovals at Queens Park, as does St Augies at Rat Park, St Andrews hires Sydney Uni ovals, Redlands does similar at Macquarie Uni ovals.

    Many of the Under 13's and U14's play BOTH club and School footy. I maintain that these kids are counted twice in the ARU census of junior player numbers. Too much integration with school footy at those levels could force kids to play one or other but not both. You know which outfit will be the loser if the parents were forced to chose either school or club but not both.
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  5. I like to watch Simon Poidevin (60)

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    Good post.
    The point you made about kids bypassing Village clubs and choosing colts is a good one.
    Watched a bit of colts yesterday, in the 3's about 1/2 of the kids playing were 17 or 18.I know there were a few school kids in the 2's as well.
    Sideline Eye likes this.
  6. Dave Beat Paul McLean (56)

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    HJ great thread well done.
    Possibly segment the age groups as I think they require different approaches. In general a school kid is a school kid and if they are playing rugby great, whether it be CHS, CAS, GPS, or Village.

    Up to under
    10's - family, fun, club, - ENJOYMENT. I say club as it would be great seeing curtain raisers at the Shute Shield with the whole family attending. Maybe a Super player is the ref. Driving point family and club and it should provide years of benefit and enjoyment.

    Up to U15s - schools start taking note, some players may head towards private schools, others will stay public. This age group should be watched closely by the NSWRU, and the ARU
    Their directions may change!
    They don't like listening to mum and dad.
    There is CHS, CAS, GPS in opens grade, would it be worth looking at the same for U15s.

    Open grades, it is hoped the investment in the years prior will provide the foundations for senior school. I don't have suggestions here. Do / Can the village clubs get involved in the driving and development of the CHS and join in the Saturday GPS, CAS games?

    I wish the ARU would create something like the AFL Auskick, instead I read ideas about shortened games with different rules. We have academy games being played on week days between 9 & 5 with few spectators, and the window after he Shute shield, and super rugby is left wide open.
  7. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    I think that would be a top solution.
    It need not even interfere with the traditional system games.
    But to make it work the weaker schools would need to be prepared to band together to be stronger or permit their kids to play for village clubs that suited their ability. This is more readily said than done: Grammar, who are weak, still insist that school rugby take precedence over external rugby, for instance, suggesting that there is no intention of letting kids pursue rugby at the highest level possible even if the school isn't competitive.
    I see this as a long term process - yes there would be resistance to begin with but eventually it could grow to have its own momentum.
    Recall, however, how some of the "elite" private schools did not like getting a licking in the Waratah Shield and that for 20 or more years Combined GPS did not play CHS because of some biffo, so I am told: it was before even my time.
    I reckon that the ARU needs to cut the Gordian Knot of reliance on the private schools - how you do that without long term pain is the $64,000 question.
  8. WorkingClassRugger Steve Williams (59)

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    his is essentially what I am suggesting. I'm happy for Village Rugby to remain, I started my journey in the game via that route. However, what makes the game restrictive to many (well, in terms of where I grew up) is the lack of opportunity in which play the game and the lack of close by competition in which to reduce the need to travel too much. By using the locales of schools to overcome this you can draw in more kids into the game and address these issues.
  9. stonecutter Chris McKivat (8)

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    It may be too late for this season but there is work being done (led by Souths and Parramatta I think) to have village club 17's who can't muster the numbers for a competitive team to amalgamate and play under their district club as a Colts age restricted 4th grade. Some clubs could even enter 2 sides. This would be saturdays only and not affect the Northern zone run comp on sundays. Can't see a downside to any of it, make it happen SJRU.
  10. sarcophilus Charlie Fox (21)

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    Stone cutters news sound like a great idea for all clubs, by 15s there are a few player that have stopped identifying with the backwater enclaves are happy to be away from the bosom of the nursery clubs and away from players benifitted by the protection of nepotist donors

    though there are a few coaches that ride their sons coat-tails through into colts, the fish in the pond are getting a bit bigger and the influence hopefuly diluted
  11. forwards4ever Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    It is unlikely to happen, but if NSWJRU closed the loopholes for U17 and U16 to play in State Champs without actually playing village club rugby, we may see a return of numbers to the field for club comps at this age!There would certainly be a much healthier U17s.
    As we have an AJRU, perhaps they could look at making sure we all have the same rules leading to State team selection - ie all playing club rugby!
    Hugh Jarse likes this.
  12. I like to watch Simon Poidevin (60)

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    Unfortunately, if that were the case it could very well destroy the comp.
    Players would work out the eligibility criteria and ensure they have "qualified" before the School comps kick in.
    Teams that were only viable due to the private schoolboys registering could not field a team during the Schools season.
    Instead of a comp that comprised of 4 or 5 clubs that roped in enough kids, there would be 8,9 or 10 clubs.Most of whom thought they had squads only to see them decimated when school Rugby started.
    There is nothing so disheartening as to turn up at the oval,only to "win" by forfeit.
  13. Inside Shoulder Nathan Sharpe (72)

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    Im conflicted on this one
  14. Steve Frankland Frank Row (1)

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    Is it correct that the starting age for colts is 17, if so what about the guys that dont turn 17 till later in the year, where do they go?
  15. forwards4ever Jimmy Flynn (14)

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    If their parents are prepared to sign the playing up/2 year window papers they can play colts!
  16. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    [USER=11767]Steve Frankland[/USER], Welcome aboard the Good Ship Gaggerland.

    Rightly or wrongly 1 January is the date chosen as the base date for age group allocation by the ARU. In some ways, this benefits those born in the first 3 months of the year, and penalises those born in the last 3 months. In reality whatever date is chosen, some will benefit and some feel aggrieved.

    IIRC Colts 3's play Under 19 modified Laws. Whereas Colts 1 & 2 play "open" Laws. Shute Shield Colts is limited to Under 20, whereas NSW Subbies Colts is Under 21's. On that basis, I assume that Colts 3 is an effective Under 19 age graded competition. With Colts 1 and 2 being "A" and "B" Division of an Under 20 age graded competition.

    Under the ARU 2 year window, technically 16 year old boys (Under 17 @ 1 Jan) can play Colts 3 rugby but need to follow the necessary protocols to obtain clearances etc to play in Under 19's as per the ARU 2 year policy.

    Under 17's should not be playing Colts 2 or Colts 1. I think that there may be additional dispensations available to play > 2 years up but 16 year olds against 20 year olds is probably not a particularly fair contest. Much of Rugby takes place in the upper 6 inches of the player, and while a 16 year old boy may be physically well developed and possess "elite" athletic skills, it is hardly a fair contest to place them in a collision sport environment against Men, who are four years older than them (20% additional life experience).

    This opinion is based on logic and assumption, rather than detailed knowledge of the eligibility criteria for SS Colts footy.

    I am sure that others with more intimate knowledge will chip in with the right info.
    forwards4ever likes this.
  17. Hugie Ted Fahey (11)

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    I don't know what your problem is.

    It looks like we'll have 8 teams in the Illawarra U17s comp this year. Kiama, Vikings, Shamrocks, Uni, 2 from Campbelltown, Bowral and Camden. This will be a great competition as the boys are all up for it (ie they know each other) the numbers have filled from the league ranks. The Illawarra coaches have been maddly teaching leaguies about union in preparation for the start of the season.

    If the Sydney boys can't get a game then they should come down to Union heartland (the Illawarra) and learn to play it properly, and take thier skills back to Sydney.
    Rugby Mum and Inside Shoulder like this.
  18. Hugh Jarse Rocky Elsom (76)

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    ^^ Country would be fancying their chances in the Country u17's vs City U17's game then. Is that one the Michael Brial Cup?
  19. Rugby Mum Watty Friend (18)

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    Indeed they would however many players from the 17s have taken opportunities elsewhere. Both sides City and Country would be suffering significant losses.
  20. Lindommer Steve Williams (59)

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    Quite right, colossal clacker. The rugby powers-that-be in the ACT came to the realisation there simply weren't enough numbers for the schools and clubs to run Sydney-style separate competitions. How clubs with, probably, one team per age group match up with, say, Canberra Grammar or Eddies who'd have at least two teams per age group I don't know. But they seem to be able to make it work, I suspect mostly because they have to.

    What's the format for junior rugby in Melbourne?

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