@taniwharugby said in NH ditch Junior rep rugby teams...:
I struggle to understand the drivers, how is removing that representative opportunity for the better quality kids going to enhance their enjoyment of the game?
My experience is that junior rep rugby doesn't target the better kids, so I have quite a lot of sympathy for the idea. Junior reps are the kids that have played the longest and/or are the earlier developers and/or play for the best teams and coaches. As a kid who was at the wrong end of the year, I thought I was much worse at rugby than I was, whereas it was merely that I was close to 11 when the "stars" were almost 13. At that age it's a huge matter.
As a guy who has seen literally thousands of kids flow through from junior rep rugby into secondary school rugby, I don't see any link between who is good at 18 and who is good at 12. I've seen so many kids come into school all pumped up because they played Roller Mills or such, only to find that they were merely early developers. Meanwhile some quiet kid who develops late, but has a good work ethic, is a much better player. Our school stopped selecting teams based on previous rep experience and went with who trained harder.
There's quite a few on this site that argue even 1st XV rugby continues the practice of merely selecting the biggest players, rather than the most skillful, which is why Auckland can't convert its massive base into provincial dominance.
And the worst part of the rep system is that it ingrains any selections based on age/size etc. Those kids get to play more and get the best coaches. Meanwhile some late developer gets only half the rugby and less good coaching.
This is not to say that NH is right. Sometimes a bad system is better than no system. I simply do not think that being selected as a rep, aged 11, is any guide to anything much.
Much guess will be that it will have zero long term effect on NH rugby.