MORE than 250 players took part in the annual Under 16 and Open Country Schools Championships in Armidale over the weekend.
Players from Central North, New England, Far North Coast and Mid North Coast battled it out not only for the trophy but also for a place in the NSW Country Schools squad.
A development squad will also be named from the carnival, with that team touring Hong Kong and Singapore next year.
It was the final year of the competition which began in 1977 to open up further pathways to representative teams for country players.
The new Rugby Gold system is essentially replacing the Country Schools, and opening up another pathway.
New England was playing for a third straight title in the Opens, while the Central North side already boasted several representative players.
Jim Pennington was the carnival convener and will go on to manage the NSW U16 School team.