NSW Country Rugby Union: Central North hold their own

Three Glen Innes women made their mark on the field in a tough Country Championships campaign in Tamworth at the weekend.

Sarah Byrne, Amelia and Alisa Tunamena were named in the Central North team for the annual NSW Country Rugby Union women's XV championships.

Week-to-week, the Central North women play a seven-a-side competition and made the step to the 15-a-side tournament at the championships.

As well as Central North, there were teams from Hunter, Mid North Coast, Illawarra, Central West and Central Coast who turned up to play.

"It was a very, very physical carnival showcasing a lot of strong women who know how to put a shot on," Byrne said.

"It great that our team was competitive the whole carnival."

Byrne said it was a big step up for the Central North side with double the amount of players on the field they are used to but eventually the team found the rhythm of the game.

"Our team consisted of basically all rugby sevens players but making the switch on the weekend we really held our own," she said.

"By the last game of the tournament it looked like we'd all been playing 15s weekly."

First up, the faced eventual tournament winners Central West on Saturday and were beaten 10-nil.

Central North then took on Illawarra for a 12-nil loss which put them into the playoff for fifth and sixth place on the Sunday.

They were beaten 15-5 by Hunter in their final match with Byrne scoring the side's only try of the tournament.

Despite missing out on wins, Byrne said the attitude among the Central North camp was positive and lays a platform for the future.

"Our team can all hold our heads really high," Byrne said.

"We played the winners of the carnival first and to only be beaten 10-0 by a team that plays 15s every weekend, and have trained together for a while, is something Central North can be really proud of.

"If we can keep a similar side for years to come we will most definitely be a force to be reckoned with."

While the women's championships have been contested for many years, rugby union has seen a huge growth in the last few with more and more signing up to play.

"I see the game of women's rugby is only going to get bigger and better," Byrne said.

"More clubs than ever have either sevens or 15s around country NSW. With that, comes more carnivals and competitions with talent scouts watching, as well as more pathways for women who are passionate about rugby, whether it be sevens or 15s."