THE new Junior Gold Cup has piqued the interest of the region’s young rugby talent, with more than 80 hopefuls attending yesterday’s Northern Inland squad trials at The Armidale School.
They were chasing berths in the U15 and U17 sides to contest the new national junior competition.
It was a pleasing turn-out and the spread was pretty even between the two age divisions, Northern Inland hub coordinator Jamie Moore said.
“It was a good day,” Moore said.
“The standard of rugby was good. The boys were really willing.”
Northern Inland will draw on the talent pool of both Central North and New England and trialists came from right across the region.
Even Moore was a bit surprised by the breadth.
He said it was pleasing too to see a good number of walk-ups on the day.
They went through some skills and drills – individual and unit – and then played a cross-field sevens.
“The kids were able to shine both individually and as a unit,” Moore said.
The squads will be finalised at the end of the week and, after yesterday, there will be plenty to discuss.
“The selections aren’t going to be easy,” Moore said.
“Competition was strong.”
Andrew Verrell and Conrad Starr are looking after the 17s and Bernie Williams and Gus Comi the 15s.
Moore said the squads would be inducted on November 10.
They’ll then have weekly satellite sessions – where will depend on the geographic nature of the squads – before meeting up again on December 1 to train as whole squads.