THE NSW City verse Country rivalry is one of the biggest in rugby union in this country and this weekend, Shoalhaven Rugby Club product Blake Gurney will have the opportunity to be a part of it.
The Shoalhaven High School student was recently named in the NSW Country Cockatoos under 18s side, following a strong showing with his Illawarriors at the country championships.
"Being named in the side was a really good feeling - it's great to be selected for higher honours and I always strive to do a little better each season," Gurney said.
Following his selection last month, the 16-year-old has been travelling to Manly every weekend for training, which included a trial match against the Manly Marlins two weeks ago, which Gurney''s side won 43-31.
"The trial match against the Manly Marlins was a good hit out before we play against the City team this weekend - it allowed us to build on the structures the coaches have put in place," he said.
Gurney and his side will now focus entirely on Saturday's big clash at Chatswood Oval from 5pm - with the outside back from Nowra knowing his role in the 22-person side.
"As a winger, the coach just wants to see me in open space and scoring tries," he said.
"As a team he wants us to bring all our skills together and play well as a team."
As much as Gurney wants is over the moon with this opportunity, he hopes this is just the start of higher honours in the sport.
"This is the highest level I've played thus far, which is really exciting," he said.
"But my goal is now to make the NSW side, which I 'll find out in a week or so."
Fellow Shoalhaven product Aroha Spillane will also be in action this weekend for NSW Country, being named in the under 17 girls team.
Joining Gurney in the under 18 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.