The ACT & SNSW Rugby Union can confirm Penrith Emus Rugby Club have been accepted to participate in the 2022 John I Dent Cup season, in an expanded competition format.
Following consultation with the current Premier Clubs, who unanimously supported the Emus addition, the ACT & SNSW Rugby Union Board of Directors have formally endorsed Penrith’s inclusion in the John I Dent Cup, which will enter it's 84th season in 2022.
Established in 1965, Penrith played in Sydney's Shute Shield from 1995 to 2018, and again for the last two seasons.
The Emus have committed to fielding teams across 1st Grade, Women, 2nd Grade and Colts.
Brumbies Rugby Deputy CEO and General Manager Community Rugby, Craig Leseberg said: "Penrith are a proud club with a rich history and strong community focus.
"The Emus have great support from Penrith City Council and local businesses and healthy playing numbers across their senior rugby program.
"This is exciting news that gives certainty to their dedicated players, coaches and volunteers.
"ACT & SNSW Rugby are delighted to be able to support Penrith’s ambitions to play at a Premier Rugby level and thrilled at the prospect of a refreshed competition structure for next season, as we eagerly re-emerge from a COVID interrupted 2021."
Penrith Emus President, Gary McColl said: "Firstly, I want to thank Peter Johnson, Phil Thomson, Craig Leseberg and the ACT & SNSW Rugby Union's Board of Directors for their consideration and conduct throughout this process and I also want to thank ACT & SNSW's premier clubs for their overwhelming support of Penrith joining the John I Dent Cup.
"The competition has a wonderfully rich history, and when we think of some of the players the John I Dent Cup has produced, we can only be excited for young rugby players in Penrith, girls and boys who hope to go on to bigger and better things.
"This has obviously been a difficult time for everyone at our club but we have stuck together and can now look forward to an exciting new era for the Penrith Emus."
The Emus' affiliation will be reviewed in 12 months, though both parties are fully committed to a long-term partnership.
The ACT & SNSW Rugby Union urges everyone in community sport to get vaccinated against COVID-19, to ensure safe return to rugby in 2022.