The Armidale Blues’ annual pre-season knockout tournament suffered a slight hiccup with the original date for the tournament colliding with Inverell’s scheduled competition.
The Blues and the Inverell Highlanders had both scheduled their tournaments to be conducted on March 9 and 10 but after consultation between key stakeholders, the clubs have banded together to create an extensive pre-season tournament.
The Laser Plumbing Inverell Sevens will keep the March 9 and 10 date with the Imperial Hotel Armidale Blues 10s Knockout on March 16.
Prior to 2017, the Blues hosted 10s for their pre-season competitions but changed to cater for the growing popularity in the sevens format.
Both events cater for both men’s and women’s rugby union with the Armidale tournament altered to men’s 10s but will also feature women’s sevens.
The format, held over two weeks will give clubs sufficient playing time to get those key on field minutes in that players need prior to both the Central North and New England Rugby Union competitions commencing.
Armidale Blues president Anthony McMillan said the move to follow Inverell with a 10-a-side competition offers clubs an opportunity to build towards their 15-a-side football.
“As we move further into March clubs need to progress from preseason football to competition, we see tens as a natural progression,” McMillan said.
Inverell’s competition organiser Jock Barnett sees the events as a great start back to rugby after the summer break.
He believes it will be a solid gauge of a team’s fitness level going into the main season, both for men and women.
Both clubs are working together to create an opportunity for clubs in Northern NSW to play some quality rugby without having to venture too far from home.
They are looking at initiatives to support both tournaments including a prize pool for the club that performs best over both weekends.
For more information on either tournament please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com