Forbes’ Charlie French will don the burnt orange and black of NSW Country this Sunday as the Cockatoos launch their 2017 representative campaign.
The prop retains his No.1 jersey from the 2016 season, having impressed head coach Mat Thomas with his performance for the Central West Blue Bulls at the NSW Country Rugby championships.
“Charlie did really well as a development player in last year’s squad, we did plenty of work with him and he did plenty of work on his own and it’s really great to see him flourish the way he has,” Thomas said.
The coaches feel they’ve found a great balance for the season with new additions with some experienced Cockatoos players returning, like Ben Damon at fullback and Illawarra backrower Paul Tuala.
The Cockatoos have a short but solid program, starting with the clash against traditional rivals NSW Suburban Rugby Union in Camden this weekend for the Maher/Ross Cup. The Cockatoos are the current title holders.
“The opportunity for the boys to play in a genuine City versus NSW Country fixture is really exciting for the players and I know they truly relish it,” Thomas said.
They take on the Brumbies Provincial side in Canberra on June 17, then Queensland Country in Newcastle on July 1. Parkes Boars lock Dan Ryan has also made the final, 23-man squad, which was cut down from 30 last week.