Schoolboy rugby will return on Friday night when the James Grant Cup, finally, comes to life.
Orange schools James Sheahan and Orange High will go head-to-head at Waratahs, joined by renowned rugby league powerhouse Red Bend from Forbes in the open-age competition's southern pool.
The 15-a-side Cup was scheduled to debut in 2020, but its opening round was quashed by the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.
The 2021 edition has seven schools competing, with Wellington High, St Matthew's Mudgee, St John's Dubbo and Dubbo Senior Campus also involved via a northern pool. Those games are yet to be played.
Central West Rugby Union runs the James Grant Cup and CEO Matt Tink says the school-based competition is a great way to introduce young men to the game and potentially see those players involved in the region's colts competition.
"This is a good start," Tink said.
"We are hoping to build on it for the next few years. Last week all the schools played in some warm up games and the quality was pretty good."
The winner of each pool will play in a grand final at a date and venue to be determined.
The games are played in 20-minute halves.
Games begin at 4.30pm on Friday night at Waratahs Sportsground.
Game 1 4.30pm - Forbes Red Bend versus James Sheehan.
Game 2 5.15pm - Forbes Red Bend versus Orange High.
Game 3 6.00pm - Orange High versus James Sheehan.
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