National Competition 15s Tournament
NATIONAL COMPETITION 15s TOURNAMENT
Auckland, New Zealand, September 23, 2013 - The New Zealand Rugby League National Competition 15s tournament kicks off at Bruce Pulman Park, Papakura next Monday. Previously the National Competition 15s teams have toured with the 17s and Premier grades, but this year all seven teams are being brought together for a tournament week, which will follow a similar format to the one used so successfully at the NZRL’s National Secondary Schools tournament.
GM Football and Community Dain Guttenbeil explains ” The youth grade teams in our National Competition are the first step on our elite player pathway and we want to offer them the best possible development opportunities in line with our ‘more than just a game’ philosophy.
“Earlier in the year we went to the Zones and held pre-National Competition performance camps. The 15s and 17s players heard from a number of speakers and started their off-field development as well as trialling for their National Competition teams.
“We’re keen to give the players every chance to play quality opposition, which is why they used to travel, but we thought making use of the school holidays to bring them together in a tournament format would be less disruptive to their school work and more beneficial to their development at the same time.
“This way they can get to meet players who they may one day play with in NZ Residents age-group teams, and they can build on the development work we started at the Zone camps.”
At the tournament there will be an age appropriate ‘It’s Not OK!’ workshop, a player pathway session with the NRL / NZRL Wellbeing and Education manager Joe Harawira, as well as position specific coaching sessions.
Guttenbeil says a tournament format will also help the players, along with their coaches, managers and selectors see where they sit. “Having all the players together in one place means we can more readily assess their on-field performances, and it allows the boys to not only test themselves against the best from other Zones and Districts but also to get a realistic picture of where they fit as far as their position goes.
“We know from the success of the National Performance Camp, which feeds our NZ Residents 16s and 18s programme, that once the boys see the competition for their position from around the country, the best of them will go away and work even harder to ensure they are the fullback, half back or winger chosen for representative honours.”
The tournament starts on Monday September 30 and runs through until Friday October 4. Monday to Wednesday is pool play; Thursday is semi finals, with the finals matches on Friday. The NZ Residents 16s will play their second match against the Australian’s following Thursday’s semi-finals, which will enable the 15s players to see the next tier on the pathway in action.
With only seven Zones, an Auckland Rugby League Development side have also been invited to attend, removing the need for a bye, with four games played each day. The eight teams which will compete in the tournament are: Northern Swords (Rugby League Northland); Akarana Falcons (Akarana); Counties Manukau Stingrays (Counties Manukau); Wai-Coa-Bay Colts (Upper Central); Central Vipers (Mid Central); Wellington Orcas (Wellington) and South Island Scorpions (Southern), Auckland.
For all details of the tournament including the draw visit the NZRL website here http://www.nzrl.co.nz/national-competition/draw/2013.aspx