Information for Illawarra and Bowral Under 17s Players











Dear Player, Parent and Supporter,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Illawarra District Rugby Board (IDRU), New South Wales Country Junior Rugby Union Board (NSWCJRU), and Sydney Junior Rugby Union (SJRU).

Firstly, our complements to you for your drive and focus in playing representative rugby.   You should be proud of your achievements.   We would like to provide you information on the Illawarra Under 17 program.   This includes:

  1. An outline of our strategy and a statement of events to outline the facts surrounding the Illawarra Under 17 team, and

  2. A firm commitment from the IDRU, NSWCJRU and SJRU that if you, as a team decide you wish to continue and play in the State Championships, and you wish to continue as a Bowral team competing in the Sydney competition, we will fully support you in achieving that.   Specifically, it is our recommendation that you choose this pathway.


Our aim is to grow and develop rugby in the Illawarra with ten strong clubs competing in all age groups with an excellent standard of rugby that all enjoy.   All contact sports are suffering declining numbers in older age groups, and at the end of last season, in which we scrambled to at least have some form of rugby for the older age groups, we reviewed how we approach the game and implemented the concept of the 1st XV and 2nd XV competitions.   This may migrate to five or six 'franchises' or zones within the Illawarra in future rather than being purely club-based, if individual clubs cannot field sufficient numbers to provide a squad of at least eighteen players.   This will ensure we have minimum player squad sizes, contested scrums and highly trained and supported staff that will develop the player base.

We are in the first year of this new concept and it will be a two year program to get to some form of excellence.   Even when it is not at that final end-point, we cannot drop our focus and simply not have local rugby, as we will lose all our players.   For example, Shoalhaven players are unlikely to play in Sydney due to travel requirements, so we cannot just have one or two teams playing in Sydney - we have to stick with our local playersand make things better.   After junior rugby, we must have players moving into local Colts sides, and then feeding in senior rugby.   

Illawarra Under 17’s

  • In early November 2015 the IDRU Junior Committee released its direction to create 1st XV and 2nd XV competitions as per the strategy outlined above.   This was discussed with, and supported by, NSWCJRU and SJRU.   Information, including emails and a Newsletter, were distributed to all clubs and all representative staff.
  • On 18 November 2015 the first draft of the IDRU Representative Manual was released.   Representative eligibility was noted as having played 50% of the previous season in the Illawarra competition, and being registered with an Illawarra club.   Given longstanding precedent including the Campbelltown U14 team in 2015, and NSWCJRU requirements, eligibility also includes playing in the Illawarra competition, with the intent being to ensure players are not ‘parachuted’ into a representative side for the course of the representative program only, but play in and contribute to, the Illawarra competition.
  • Between November 2015 and May 2016, three meetings were held for all representative staff.   Information and decisions from those meetings were distributed by email.   Additionally, weekly/fortnightly contact was maintained for team administration including budget, levies and team sheets.
  • On 2 May 2016 at the IDRU Board meeting, The Bowral Club and Junior Presidents attended and outlined a commitment to fielding an Illawarra 1st XV team.   Given that this assured a viable Illawarra 1st XV age group, approval was granted by the Board to then field a team to compete in the SJRU competition opens age group with the intent that it was for a one-year period with players then streaming into colts teams in the Illawarra.  Team lists for each team were requested so SJRU could be notified of the team to play in Sydney and the team list for the Illawarra U17s could be finalised.
  • The team lists for the team to play in Sydney, and the Illawarra U17 team, were received on the night of Wednesday 11 May 2016.   Fourteen players in the Illawarra team were listed as players in the team to play in Sydney, which had previously not been known and which contravened the eligibility precedent noted above.  
  • On Thursday 12 May 2016, a compromise was agreed between the IDRU and NSWCJRU which allowed the team to play in the Country Championships and eligible players to be selected for NSWCJRU – this was the ‘Illawarra Barbarians’ team.  
  • On Friday 13 May 2016 a submission was made to NSWCJRU by the Illawarra coach stating that thirteen of the Illawarra representative players were playing in the Illawarra competition and making themselves available to play in the Sydney competition on an ‘as-available’ basis.   This was approved by NSWCJRU and two Illawarra players were selected in the NSWCJRU U17 team – one from the 1st XV group and one from the team list nominated for the Sydney competition.
  • On Thursday 19 May 2016, an email was received from the Illawarra Under 17 Coach and Manager resigning from their positions and that player kit was being returned due to parents refusing to pay for it.   After discussions between the IDRU and NSWCJRU the resignations were accepted on Friday 20 May 2016 and the decision made to approach the Assistant Coach, and the team, to indicate full support if the team wished to continue and to compete in the State Championships.   This was communicated to the Assistant Coach on the afternoon of Friday 20 May 2016 and agreed that he would contact the team.
  • On Saturday 21 May 2016, a post was placed on the team Facebook page about players deregistering from the Illawarra and moving to Sydney clubs.

What’s Next?

Our sincere wish (and strong recommendation) is that you continue as a team and compete in the State Championships and remain with Illawarra as colts in future.   Should you choose to do so, we will fully support the coach and team in this endeavour.  

Further, the IDRU continues to support the agreement of having a Bowral team play in the Illawarra 1st XV competition and a second Bowral team competing in the SJRU opens competition.

This pathway ensures current and continued selection eligibility for players in NSWCJRU teams due to playing in Illawarra and NSWCJRU teams.

Len Blackmore
On Behalf of Board of Directors
Illawarra District Rugby Union

Illawarrior 2015 Under 17



Trials:  Sunday April 19 V Central Coast at Camden Rugby Park No.1 at 1.10PM

 Tournament:   Combined NSW Country and NSW State Championships June 6-8 at St Lukes, Concord.

Coach:   Paul Connor

Assistant Coach:   Dean Halliwell 

Manager:  Peter Bugden   0431 965976

U17 Junior Rep Team Announced

junior illawarriors logoThe team management of the U17 Junior Illawarriors Representative side has announced the squad to take part in the 2014 NSW Junior Country Championship.

The U17 Country Carnival takes place in Dubbo on the 26th and 27th April.

Read more: U17 Junior Rep Team Announced






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