New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU) has today confirmed squads for both Sydney and the Country Eagles for the 2019 National Rugby Championship (NRC).

The management of Sydney – formerly known as the Rays – now sits with NSWRU, with the Country Eagles operating under NSW Country Rugby Union.

NSW Waratahs Assistant, Chris Whitaker returns to lead the Sydney with Pauli Taumoepeau from Easts as his Assistant.

The Eagles will be led by Robert Taylor – fresh from a Shute Shield Grand Final win with Sydney University – assisted by Ben McCormack from Randwick.

The squads consist of more than 20 contracted NSW Waratahs and have substantial representation from across the Shute Shield, with recent grand finalists Sydney University and Warringah well represented.

Sydney will feature the likes of Lachlan Swinton, Lalakai Foketi, Cam Clark, Will Harrison and Hugh Sinclair.

Their country counterparts will be home to Harry Johnson-Holmes, Tom Staniforth, Ned Hanigan and Jake Gordon.

NSWRU General Manager of Rugby, Tim Rapp said he felt the coaching staff of Sydney and Country had struck a great balance across their squads.

“This has been a collaborative approach [building squads] from the outset and I think we’ve put together two really strong squads that feature both up-and-coming talent and experience,” Rapp said.

“The NRC is the perfect opportunity for us to give young players the chance to grow and develop, in doing that you’ve got to put the right framework around them in terms of coaches and teammates.

“The likes Ned Hanigan, Cam Clark, Harry Johnson-Holmes and Jake Gordon will set the example for those guys, giving them the opportunity to line up alongside players with international experience is hugely valuable.

“Couple that with the experience of Lalakai Foketi, Jed Holloway and Tom Staniforth at Super Rugby level and you’ve got a diverse group of experienced players to lead the way in this competition.

“Individuals have the opportunity to challenge themselves in a new environment with support of two experienced coaching groups, there’s no better avenue for players aspiring to make that step into a professional rugby environment.”

Both Sydney and Country will officially come together this week following the completion of the Shute Shield, ahead of their Round 1 clash in Dubbo on Saturday 31 August.

NSWRU squads for the 2019 National Rugby Championship:


Forwards: Tom Osborne (Sydney Uni), Rory O’Connor (Warringah), Harrison Rorke (Gordon), Joe Cotton, Ed Craig (Eastwood), Wayne Borsak (Sydney Uni), Declan Moore (Sydney Uni) Charlie Abel (Gordon), Shambeckler Vui (Souths), Darcy Breen (Sydneu Uni), Tuitakau Kioa (Two Blues), Ryan McCauley (Easts), Ruaridh Mackenzie (Warringah), Sam Thomason (Warringah), Lachlan Swinton (Sydney Uni), Hugh Sinclair (Norths), Josh Kemeny (Sydney Uni), Jordan Goddard (Gordon), Christian Poidevin (Randwick), Charlie Gamble (Easts)

Backs: Mitch Short (Randwick), Michael McDonald, Jake Abel (Gordon), Will Harrison (Randwick), Ben Donaldson (Randwick), Harry Burey (Norths), Lalakai Foketi (Easts), Trent Winterstein (Two Blues), Cam Clarke (Norths), James Ramm (Randwick), Richard Wolfe (Norths), Ben Marr (Warringah), Tailiki Nadredre (Two Blues), Tyson Davis (Warringah)

Country Eagles:
Forwards: Angus Bell (Sydney Uni), Tom Horton (Sydney Uni), Harry Johnson Holmes (Sydney Uni), Chris Talakai (Sydney Uni), Matt Sandell (Sydney Uni), Rob Lagudi (Eastwood), Cody Walker (Easts) Aaron Blacklock (Manly), David Vea (Randwick), Tom Staniforth (Easts), Jed Holloway (Souths), Ned Hanigan (Randwick), Connor Vest (Norths), Nick Champion De Crespigny (Sydney Uni), Maclean Jones (Warringah), Will Harris (Easts), Pat Tafa (Gordon), Michael Icely (Eastwood)

Backs: Jake Gordon (Sydney Uni), Jack Grant (Easts), Henry Robertson (Sydney Uni), Mack Mason (Easts), Connor O’Shea (Sydney Uni), Joey Walton (Gordon), Triston Reilly (Randwick), James Dargaville (Sydney Uni), James Turner (West Harbour), Ben Woollett (Warringah), Mark Nawaqanitawase (Eastwood), Tim Clements (Sydney Uni), James Kane (Sydney Uni)