For a group of young rugby union players in Dubbo, the coming weeks will bring an opportunity most could only dream of.
A four-strong contingent of Dubbo Kangaroos will be part of the Central West under 12s team which will contest the Hero's Cup in Japan, while before that four other players from the city will head to North America as part of the NSW Country Cockatoos Opens Development Tour.
Dubbo Kangaroos under 17s players Jayden Blake and Jack Bell will be among the youngest of the players heading to Canada and the United States while Roos colts Sam Parish and Sam Knaggs will also be part of the trip.
The Central West squad heads to Japan next Tuesday while the Cockatoos head overseas on Sunday.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity so I'm pretty excited," Bell said.
"It will be tough and a lot of hard work. I'm sure it will pretty exhausting for the body for a couple of weeks but it should be really good."
The tour will see the most exciting players across the under 17s and under 18s age groups from throughout the NSW Country Rugby Union contest five games, with stops at Vancouver, Sacramento, and Los Angeles along the way.
Blake and Bell are the halves combination for the Roos 17s side this season and are both keen to take in all they can during the two-week tour.
"There's a few teammates and people I know. It's always good to have some familiar faces," Blake said.
"But will be good to meet new people over there as well. It will be good learning experience."
This marks Blake's first time in a Cockatoos squad and while Bell has been part of the NSW Country program before, he was still honoured to be heading overseas with the team this time around.
"It's always very fulfilling," he said.
"It's a rewarding experience when all the hard work pays off. Humbling as well."
The Central West under 12s side will also enjoy a rewarding experience in Japan.
Roos juniors Rex Bassingthwaighte, Dominic Jarrett, Hugh Mitchell, and Hugo O'Malley will be part of the squad which contests the Hero's Cup, with the former named as captain of the squad.
The Hero's Cup is as much about the coming together of different cultures as the rugby itself, is the latest of a number of junior events Japan has hosted in the lead-up to this year's Rugby World Cup, which kicks off in September.
The Blue Bulls are the only Australian side contesting the tournament, something co-coach Rob Nixon takes real pride in.
"The last three years in the build-up to the World Cup Japan have been hosting this type of event (and) we're very lucky, very fortunate to have been selected by the powers that be to represent Australia," he said.
"We're the only side from Australia going and it's a real privilege."
Jason Blake, the Central West representative coordinator and vice-president of the zone, was another to heap praise on the tours and the experiences the young players will take in.
"That's a huge opportunity. It doesn't come around to every players and players, when they're offered that opportunity they should take it with both hands," he said.
"It's a huge experience for them. You can't put a value on the life skills but more importantly the rugby experience from playing teams from around the world.
"It should be a great opportunity for them."
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