Cale and Besgrove Set for New Zealand Tour

Updated: September 5, 2019

The Country Under-23’s Representative side will tour New Zealand next month and the coach and players are thrilled to have the opportunity to represent Country on an international stage.

Five regions will be represented when the Country team come together to play the North Island Championship Team and the Canterbury Bulls and their Coach Josh Cale believes it will be a memorable tour.

“There’s been a couple of little changes but the majority of the squad we put together is there and it’ll be a great experience for the players,” Cale said.

“To be able to don the Country jersey is a huge honour, so it’s something we’re all looking forward to I’m sure.”

The Illawarra South Coast Dragons were crowned this year’s Country Champions with a dominant win over Monaro in the Final; Cale was impressed with the standard of the football and is eager to see what the Country team will produce.

“I thought it was great; there were some close games throughout the tournament and Illawarra really ticked on in the Final and put on their best performance at the end.

“I think we’ve put together a really good squad and we’ve got some combinations that I’m really excited to see.

“It’ll be good to get all the boys around each other to try and get those bonds together and hopefully we can do really well in the two games.”

Last year’s Co-Captain, Joe Besgrove is set to represent Country once more and says the tour presents regional players with the opportunity to test themselves against different opponents.

“It’s a great honour,” Besgrove said.

“It will be my final year of being eligible, so being given the chance to represent Country again is awesome.

“It has been one of my greatest achievements in Rugby League so far.

“I haven’t had the chance to play over in New Zealand yet, so it’ll be great to see what sort of talent they have and see if us Country boys can match it with them but I’m sure we’ll be able to.”

The Murwillumbah Mustangs representative featured in the Northern Rivers Titans Country Championships side this year and is looking forward to working with Cale once more after last year’s tour of Papua New Guinea.

“Josh is such a great Coach and he’s also got a really good sense of humour, so it will be good to have him there again this year.

“PNG was an awesome experience; with the boys that we met on that tour – you couldn’t ask for a better bunch of blokes.

“I came into it not knowing many people but they were all really welcoming; the staff and everyone were really good to be on tour with.

“It was such a different experience over there playing against one of their representative teams, it was really tough but it was great.”

Last year, Besgrove played alongside fellow Titans teammate Kyle Kennedy, as well as Riverina representative Zac Masters and says he is keen to meet some fresh faces.

“The Illawarra boys obviously did extremely well this year and they were unbeaten throughout the whole tournament, so it’ll be good to work with them and see how they go.

“Kyle and Zac are always really good to play alongside and I’m looking forward to meeting the other boys as well.”

The team will assemble in camp on Friday, 4th October. All tour information and highlights will be available on CRL’s website and social media channels.


Click here for Under-23’s Representative Team


Tuesday, 8th October

CRL Under-23’s v North Island Championship Team

Kick-Off: 6.30pm at Puketawhero Park, Rotorua


Saturday, 12th October

CRL Under-23’s v Canterbury Bulls

Kick-Off: 2.30pm at Nga Puna Wai Sports Hub, Christchurch