THE junior rugby union Country Championships continued on the weekend, with the Illawarra's under 18 boys, under 17 girls and under 15 girls travelling up to Lennox Head for a tough two days of rugby.
The boys side, featuring Shoals' Blake Gurney and Angus Ellem, fell to Hunter in their first game before bouncing back to defeat Far-North Coast to secure a semi-final berth.
There, they defeated Mid-North Coast to set up a rematch with Hunter in the final. Hunter, again, were too good, defeating Illawarra 21-7.
The under 17 girls competition was a round robin format, with each team playing playing four matches.
The Illawarra girls, headlined by Shoals' Aroha Spillane and Bella Sims, won three of their four games, the loss coming to Hunter 17-12 in what amounted to a de facto final.
Hunter proved to be the under 15 girls nemesis as well, with the two sides drawing 5-all in the semi-final.
Hunter moved on by virtue of their higher seed, with Illawarra, containing Shoalhaven's Maddy Allen and Jasmine Smith, defeating Mid-North Coast 10-nil in the third-place playoff.
Following the conclusion of the tournament, Gurney and Spillane were respectively named in the open boys and under 17 girls NSW Country sides.
Joining Gurney in the open men's side are Illawarra team mates Harvey Austin, Blake Curls, Cooper Hansen and Tremana Malafu, as well as Hunter's Jacklin Andrews, Logan Badger, Nic Benn, Charlie Bennett, Liam Dalibozek, Thomas McPhee, Sam Parkinson and Timothy Ryan, Central West's Jack Bell, Jayden Blake, Leo Ferguson and Sulivenusi Hakalo, Mid North Coast's Oscar Churchwell, Heath Lancaster and Zane Misios and Central North's Boston Kerapa and Mitchell Watts.
While Spillane is named alongside Illawarra's Manaia Blair, Pheobe Clarke, Lily Murdoch, Rose Tafengatoto and Marama Whanga Katipa, Central North's Safia Arranz, Shanti Kennedy, Erika Maslen, Laura Sadler and Wilmie Van Schalwyk, Central Coast's Anita Brown, Jordan Lyons, Charlee Proctor, Jade Sheridan, Moauna Tevi-Fuimaono and Tylah Vallance, Hunter's Sophie Clancy, Kiara Hawkins, Jorja Holden, Zali McDowell and Jade Pritchard and Mid North Coast's Natalie Towle.