Under 13s NSW Junior Rugby to be held at Apex Oval in 2020

READY TO HOST: Junior Rugby Club president Jason Blake, Mayor Ben Shields and Dubbo Regional Council's Kim Hague, Michael McMahon, Tracey Whillock and Lana Willetts. Photo: Amy McIntyre.
READY TO HOST: Junior Rugby Club president Jason Blake, Mayor Ben Shields and Dubbo Regional Council's Kim Hague, Michael McMahon, Tracey Whillock and Lana Willetts. Photo: Amy McIntyre.

Apex Oval will become the latest sporting ground in New South Wales to host a stage of the NSW Junior Rugby Union Championships.

Dubbo Regional Council have successfully secured the hosting rights to the 2020 under 13s championships, which were previously hosted in Maitland.

Mayor Ben Shields says that the event is expected to bring an immense amount of money and thousands of visitors.

"[This event] will bring more than $2 million into the local economy, which is fantastic to see at a time when things are tight," Shields said.

Around 460 players will attend the championships, split across eighteen representative teams from across the Country regions, Sydney metropolitan areas, Melbourne and the ACT.

President of NSW Junior Rugby Union Ben Gregory described the region as an ideal hosting location thanks to the strength of the local competition structure.

"Dubbo, and the Central West, has a strong rugby presence and the Dubbo Roos and their committee are a keen and progressive bunch whom will be magnificent hosts for our junior showpiece," Gregory said.

"With the support of Dubbo Regional Council we have a magnificent opportunity to bring a large rugby contingent to Dubbo and showcase Dubbo to the wider rugby community."

The event previously found a home in Orange, where the under 14s competition was hosted last year, but has largely been a Sydney and surrounding areas event.

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Central West Junior Rugby Club president Jason Blake said hosting the event at Apex Oval would make it easier for the local Western team and other regional players to accommodate travel arrangements.

"A big benefit is that our junior Central West team will get to play in their own backyard, they won't have to travel to Sydney, which is a good thing for them, they'll get to feel at home," Blake said.

Blake says the benefit to local players will also extend to giving them a taste of the wider competition across the state.

"It'll help these country boys compete, and it'll let them see where the standard is at for them to compete in a state team," Blake said.

"It gives them an understanding of the technical ability and playing style they need to achieve to play for the NSW country team or even the state team."

The current western under 12s team, who will compete as under 13s next year, have already performed well in events like the Hero's Cup in Japan and Blake expects that representative experience to serve them well.

"I think they'll do very well next year, they're a very competitive, young team and they'll continue to grow and get smarter and stronger."

The championships will be held across the June 6 to June 8 weekend in 2020.