THE Central West Rugby Union (CWRU) has been given a monumental shake-up ahead of the 2016 season, with major changes coming for both the structures of next year’s Blowes Clothing Cup and the GrainCorp Cup competitions.
Revealed to clubs last week, CWRU chief executive officer Peter Veenstra says the idea behind the changes is to boost participation, with the biggest modification ahead of the next winter’s rugby competition the removal of a colts outfit as a prerequisite to entry in the Blowes Clothing Cup.
The colts age has also been dropped from under 20s to under 19s, and while the CWRU’s preference is to play colts games at the same venue of the parent club, that won’t necessarily be the case.
The colts competition has also been opened up to schools for 2016.
Veenstra said there were 47 teams across the board in CWRU senior competitions and, with the mooted changes for 2016, he hoped that number would be balloon.
“We expect there will be more [teams],” the region’s rugby boss said.
“There will undoubtedly be some concern about colts not necessarily being with their parent club, but as far as possible we’ll work with that.
“We solicited from the clubs earlier in the year, worked with the information we had and this is what the board thinks is the best future for the Central West Rugby Union, and it’s about broadening the participation numbers - that’s what the aim is.”
Veenstra said it was “significant” both of NSW’s two largest unions - Newcastle Hunter and CWRU - will next season go to under 19s at a colts level.
The NSW Country Championships colts competition will remain under 20s, however.
With the removal of colts as a must, the main criteria to be eligible to play in the Blowes Clothing Cup from next year onwards will be a first and second grade side.
That change means the Dubbo Rhinos have agreed to again play in the region’s top tier, taking the number of clubs in the Blowes Clothing Cup from 10 to 11.
Veenstra estimated 12 teams would compete in the new-look GrainCorp Cup, where the southern and northern divisions have been combined for one competition, in next year’s second tier premiership.
Nominations will be called for by the middle of October
“We’ll have a clearer idea then,” he said.”