The Australian Institute of Sport will be the venue for the 2019 Junior Rugby Championship for U16 this September and October with the Brumbies joining the cream of Australian talent at this age-group for the prestigious competition.
The U16 Junior Rugby Championship will be held from Saturday 28th September until Saturday 5th October and is sure to provide a week of outstanding rugby as the stars of tomorrow take to the field.
Led by Head Coach Angus Balmaks, the Brumbies have been busy training twice a week in preparation for the tournament with a trial match against the Rebels in Albury
“These tournaments are a great opportunity for players to test themselves against the best in the country,” Balmaks said of the upcoming championships. “Previously the highest level of competition players get is against NSW Country at the end of their representative programs in a one-off game.
“Particularly for the U16 age group they have had the opportunity in the Junior Gold Cup the previous year and now have something to measure their performances against during the year to get ready for the JRC in October.”
The U16 challenge is a vital part of the Brumbies pathway to professional rugby and the players will no doubt feel the benefit of being together for an extended period of time during the championships, something that Balmaks feels is important.
“Fortunately, we get our squad together through the ACT Junior rugby union program in March and then train throughout the year allowing for players to become familiar with one another and how they fit into the team on the field,” he said.
“This familiarity helps in the face of the larger player pools of the NSW and Queensland teams. Once we reach the tournament the boys have already formed a strong bond within the squad and will be channelling their energy in one direction throughout the week against our opposition.
“The time also gives each player more time to work with the coaches, physio and S&C coach to develop their individual skills, team knowledge and physical conditioning before the competition.
“Each of the fixtures at the JRC will provide players the opportunity to test themselves against each opposition and put their hand up to be on the radar for both the Brumbies and Rugby Australia.
“A strong performance can kick start momentum that player will take into academy squads as well as talent identification for Australian sevens and age grade teams. Each player has proved throughout the season that they are the best in the Brumbies region and are looking forward to the challenge of NSW I in game one.”
The competition being held in their own backyard, the brumbies will be familiar with the surroundings and should have the support of their friends and family during what is sure to be an exciting and tough week of action.
“This is the first time I can think of that the U16 tournament has been held in the ACT,” Balmaks commented. “It's a great opportunity for the local rugby community to see the hard work each of these players have been putting in throughout the year and view the players that will be playing 1st XV rugby for the local clubs and schools in 2020.
“If you saw the local U18 Grand Final you will understand how important it is for local players to play in front of friends, family and fellow club and school players. Across the squad we have players representing: Marist, St Edmunds, Darmalan, Canberra Grammar, Trinity (Goulburn), Uni-Norths, Vikings, Broulee, Griffith and Temora.”
BRUMBIES U16 FIXTURES
Saturday 21 September: trial v Rebels (Albury)
Sunday 29 September: NSW 1 v Brumbies (1:15pm)
Tuesday 1 October: QLD White v Brumbies (1:15pm)
Thursday 3 October: Brumbies v Western Australia (10:00)
Saturday 5 October: Playoffs