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By NSW Waratahs Media unit
The Sydney Rays have jumped into first place in the U15’s Junior Gold Cup Southern Conference after winning both round two fixtures, putting them in the box seat to compete in the grand final.
The Rays galvanized after round one’s victory over South Australia, defeating the ACT Brumbies and NSW Country Eagles comfortably to leapfrog the latter on the table.
Their efforts have earnt them a spot at the big dance against the winner of the Northern Conference, which is to be played as the curtain raiser for the U16’s National Championships at the Southport School, Brisbane.
Featuring in the U16’s tournament are two NSW Gen Blue sides, who have been training in preparation of the Nationals that begin on the 30th of September.
NSW Rugby Coach Education and Pathways Manager Matt Evrard says the three NSW teams have excelled in the U15’s Junior Gold Cup in 2017.
“The Rays, Rams and Eagles have all upped the ante in terms of their performances in round two,” he said.
“Following the Rays’ results over the weekend, they have booked their spot in the final next weekend which will serve as a curtain raiser for the U16’s National Championships.”
Representing NSW Gen Blue in the U16’s Championships is the next step in the pathway for the U15’s Junior Gold Cup players who are aspiring to become NSW Waratahs one day.
“A spot in the U16’s Gen Blue program marks another stage in the journey to earning higher representative honours for the state,” said Evrard. “Between now and that time is plenty of hard work and dedication, and coming through the Gen Blue pathway will help nurture that emerging talent.”
In preparation for the U16’s National Championships, the two NSW sides have been training out of NSW Waratahs HQ.
There is one final round of U15’s Junior Gold Cup this coming weekend, which will see the first-placed Sydney Rays take on the Western Sydney Rams in a blockbuster local derby at Pittwater Rugby Park.
Sydney Rays 27 defeated ACT Brumbies 3
NSW Country Eagles 8 defeated by Western Sydney Rams 17
NSW Country Eagles 22 defeated by Sydney Rays 48
Western Sydney Rams 12 defeated by ACT Brumbies 31
Standings after RD2:
BP + 3T
Western Sydney Rams
NSW Country Eagles
The first round of the U15’s Junior Gold Cup has wrapped up with the three NSW teams leading the Southern Conference ahead of the ACT and South Australia.
Leading are the NSW Country Eagles, who drew with the ACT in their first fixture of the weekend before defeating South Australia comfortably 83-7.
Both the Sydney Rays and Western Sydney Rams U15’s also put their best feet forward, notching up big victories over the team from South Australia.
NSW Rugby Coach Education and Pathways Manager Matt Evrard says that all three NSW teams showed they are a force to be reckoned with in the Junior Gold Cup competition.
“Three wins and a draw over the other teams in the competition shows the competitiveness of the NSW teams in this year’s Junior Gold Cup,” said Evrard.
“While the results are very important along with improving standards of play, what we are creating is a pathway for these players to follow and to reach higher honours in rugby.
“What we are looking for is players who can take that next step up and secure a place in our Gen Blue program as they get older and hopefully that may one day lead to a place with the NSW Waratahs.
The next round of the Junior Gold Cup competition will take place this weekend, details are yet to be confirmed.
Sydney Rays 69 defeated South Australia 7
NSW Country Eagles 20 drew ACT Brumbies 20
NSW Country Eagles 83 defeated South Australia 7
Western Sydney Rams 46 defeated South Australia 7
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Here are our six talking points out of NSW ahead of round four of the NRC.