AFTER a rigorous season, Hunter Valley youngster Henry Murray has gained selection in the NSW Rugby under-15 Gen Blue squad.
The Shore boarder was hand-picked by officials, who scout talent right across the state from both club and school competitions.
Along with some of his Shore team-mates, the teenager will spend September on a demanding training program before showcasing his skills in the National Championships in October.
Talent manager Andrew Cleverly and project coordinator Matt Evrard will observe the sessions.
Murray is no stranger to rugby, having played since he was four for Pokolbin Reds Junior Rugby.
But, he says the Gen Blue program excites him and he hopes it will push his game to new heights.
"I am extremely excited to be a part of Gen Blue," he admitted.
"It's the highest level of rugby that I've played so far in my short career and it will give me the opportunity to improve my game and overall skills."
He attributes the opportunity to play Gen Blue to his involvement in the school's rugby program.
"Shore has given me the access to better coaching, from people who are experts in their field," Murray said.
"It has given me the chance to play in this Gen Blue team and I am extremely grateful."
Moving into state rugby, Murray says he's prepared for the overall pace of the game to increase but is confident that Shore has given him the access to quality competition needed to prepare for the challenge.
Some of his fellow team-mates are his opponents from other schools competing in Sydney.
For a young player, Murray offers a mature outlook to the elements of rugby.
When commenting on his favourite aspect of the sport, he says he gets the most enjoyment out of competing with his rival outside-centre in an endurance-based fight to the finish.
His success in rugby, although impressive, isn't uncommon in his family.
From a young age, Murray watched his cousin and Hurricanes Super Rugby player, James Blackwell, prosper through the trials and tribulations that the sport threw at him.
"I grew up watching him go through the many stages of rugby," he said.
"Coaches told him he needed to gain 10kg to stay in the team.
"And, I watched him find a way to do that and stay fit."
His relationship with Blackwell is perhaps what shaped Murray's impressive "never-say-never" attitude.
When asked what inspires him, he says watching his cousin thrive in the sport professionally showed him that success doesn't discriminate and that anyone can achieve their goals, as long as they are prepared to put in the work.
"He showed me that any person can be anything, as long as they try," he said.
Murray demonstrates the attitude and skill to prosper in rugby as a career, but when asked if he was looking to pursue the sport professionally, he is undecided.
"I honestly have no idea what I want to be when I grow up," he said.
"It is still on the table, it just depends on how these next five years go for me."