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By Patrick Foulkes
Hailing from inland NSW the young men playing for Western NSW’s BMW Junior Gold Cup sides have proven themselves to be more than handy Rugby players across both the U15s and U17s.
In the U15s Western NSW sits on top of Pool A with a match against Illawarra this Sunday 13 March the only hurdle to topping the group and progressing to the 2016 Finals.
NSW Rugby Union, Development Manager, Regional NSW, Mark DeBrincat spoke to rugby.com.au about the players from beyond the Great Dividing Range.
“I’ve been really impressed with the standard of play of our Junior Gold Cup teams in 2016. It’s been a really good campaign so the boys are ready for another trip down to Sydney across both age divisions.
“The U15s have done really well and fingers crossed they finish top of the pool.”
“If they can achieve a win it would be the first time a Western NSW side has made the Junior Gold Cup Finals stage.
“Everyone is pretty positive and let’s hope the boys can finish the season on a high and get five from five.”
Despite unable to progress to the 2016 BMW Junior Gold Cup Finals, there is still plenty to play for the U17s side.
“The structure we use for the U17s means that we have Rugby camps in the lead up to us travelling.”
“The guys have been really good and they have enjoyed the touring experience.”
With the vast landscape beyond NSW’s coastal cities and into the heartland of the state comes the issue of tyranny of distance and the complications of training with players living far apart.
“It’s always a challenge out here with the distance,” DeBrincat said.
“We have boys from Narrabri to Griffith which is about 700kms so it just means we have to be quick to adapt.”
We know we have less time to train than our city counterparts but it just means we have to train harder, become mates really quickly and put it on the field.”
With the U17s boys playing under the NSW Country Eagles banner there may be some of these boys running around at a higher level in the future.
“Logan Conn and Beau Westcott have been some really good players for us in the U15s and showed a lot of promise.
“In the U17s Ben Anau a half back from Griffith has been very good and Hunter Ward from Orange, our number eight, has been a standout.
“Without a doubt we will have some Country Eagles and Country Cockatoos from these lads and we’ll hear a lot about them.”
For all the results from round 4 of the BMW Junior Gold Cup click here.