Queensland Country (NRC team)
Bond University Queensland Country
|Region||Queensland Regions, excluding Brisbane|
|Ground(s)||Bond University Field
Cbus Super Stadium
Mike Carney Toyota Park
|League(s)||National Rugby Championship|
Queensland Country is an Australian rugby union football team that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team is one of two Queensland sides in the competition, the other being Brisbane City. Queensland Country is organised and managed by the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU), with the coaching and training programs used at the Queensland Reds extended to players joining the team from the Reds, Premier Rugby and Country Rugby.
The Queensland Country team in the NRC draws its identity from the Queensland Country representative team that has played in regular City-Country fixtures in Queensland since 1902. The same colours have been adopted for the team in the NRC competition and, while the Heelers' cattle dog logo is not used, an emblem based on the traditional Cooktown Orchid logo of the Queensland Country Rugby Union has been adopted. The Queensland Country uniform is blue and white, with a crest of the orchid logo inside Queensland Rugby's traditional ‘Q’ on the jersey's chest.
The NRC was launched in 2014, reinstating the national competition after the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC) was discontinued following the first season in 2007. The Queensland Country NRC team plays in various Queensland regional centres. Existing QRU staffing roles and infrastructure are utilised, and the training base for the team is at QRU's headquarters at Ballymore.
Rugby within Country Queensland began to gain significant popular support after the first intercolonial match between New South Wales and Queensland in 1892. Prior to this, Melbourne rules (Australian football) was mainly played. Regional centres such as Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Charters Towers established their own rugby unions in the 1880s and 1890s.
The first City-Country match between Brisbane and Queensland Country (selected from the rest of Queensland) was held at the inuagural Country Week carnival hosted by the QRU in 1902. Country Week carnivals became sporadic with the rise of rugby league after 1909, and the start of the First World War brought rugby union to a halt in Queensland after 1914. The QRU was revived in 1928–29, but rugby languished in country regions of the state for many years.
City-Country matches were resumed in 1965. From 1968 until 1982, annual Country Carnival competitions were held from which the Country team was selected to play Brisbane and other representative sides. The Country Carnival was discontinued in favour of State Championships in 1983, and the format of competition has varied over time, but City-Country matches between the Brisbane and Queensland Country representative teams have remained regular fixtures since.
East Coast Aces (ARC team)
In 2006, after setting up a consultative process culminating in a working session of some 70 delegates from around the country, the Australian Rugby Union announced that a new, eight-team national competition would commence in 2007 to compete for the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC).
The East Coast Aces, based on the Gold Coast, was formed as one of two Queensland teams supported by the QRU in the ARC, alongside the Ballymore Tornadoes. The Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Aces said that the team had selected a name that would embrace the various stakeholders at club level. He added:
Our team will draw on players and supporters from Cairns to Coolangatta—and possibly even rugby fans in northern NSW—in what is an exciting development for the code in Queensland.—Peter Murdoch, Steering Committee Chairman, 2007.
Queensland's two teams in the ARC were aligned with existing clubs and regions. The East Coast Aces team was aligned with Queensland Country and the Queensland Premier Rugby clubs south of the Brisbane River – Souths, Easts, Sunnybank, and Gold Coast. The team played its home matches at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast. The QRU had initially considered basing the team out of Ballymore, before settling on the Gold Coast. The Aces' colors were black, blue and gold.
The head coach of the Aces was John Boe, who was also head coach of the Gold Coast Breakers - one of the Ace's feeder teams. Boe was a former All Black and World Cup coach (leading Samoa at the 2003 tournament and a previous assistant coach at both the Chiefs and the Highlanders. The assistant coach for the Aces was former Wallaby Garrick Morgan.
The Australian Rugby Championship was terminated at the end of 2007 after only one season of competition, with the Australian Rugby Union citing higher costs than budgeted and further projected financial losses. The Aces team was disbanded at the end of the ARC. The team had incurred significant financial losses, with an average home attendance for the season of just 1,428, the lowest in the ARC.
Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Play-offs 2007 8th 8 2 0 6 163 343 -180 3 11 Did not compete
National Rugby Championship
In December 2013, the ARU announced that the national competition was to be relaunched, with the National Rugby Championship (NRC) commencing in 2014. Expressions of interest were open to any interested parties, with the accepted bids finalised in early 2014. There was initial interest from Queensland clubs and regions in forming NRC teams themselves, but to eliminate the risks to sub-unions and clubs, the Queensland Rugby Union decided to organise and manage two teams centrally in the early years of the competition. On 24 March 2014, it was announced that the Queensland Country and Brisbane City teams would play in the NRC competition.
The Queensland Country team will play home matches at the Bond University Rugby Field and Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast, Mike Carney Toyota Park in Townsville, and Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane. The team will have its training base at Ballymore, the traditional home of Queensland Rugby.
(c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes player is internationally capped, 1 denotes allocated national player additional to the contracted squad.
National Rugby Championship
Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Play-offs 2014 8th 8 2 0 6 208 281 −73 3 11 Did not compete
- Steve Meehan (2014)
- Anthony Fainga'a (2014)
2014 Queensland Country squad – NRC
- Saia Fainga'a
- Ryan Freney
- Tonga Ma’afu
- Ben Adams
- Jack de Guingand
- Lolo Fakasilea
- Mitch King
- Beau Robinson
- James Turner
- Scott Gale
- Sam Grasso
- Giles Beveridge
- Pierce Fitzgerald
- Todd Winkley
(c) Denotes team captain
2007 East Coast Aces squad – ARC
- Lloyd Campbell-McBride (Easts)
- Tama Tuirirangi (Gold Coast)
- Ben Coutts (Souths)
- Joe Tufuga (Sunnybank)
- Jade Ingham (Easts)
- Ole Avei (Sunnybank)
- Will Munsie (Gold Coast)
- Luke Caughley (Gold Coast)
- Rob Simmons (Sunnybank)
- Nic Berry (Sunnybank)
- Sam Batty (Gold Coast)
- Lloyd Johansson (Gold Coast) Captain
- Waitai Walker (Sunnybank)
- Charlie Fetoai (Souths)
- Henari Veratau (Sunnybank)
- "NRC frequently asked questions". Queensland Rugby. 2014. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- QRU Annual Report 2013, p. 5.
- "NRC update part 1: Queensland, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra". The Roar. 8 July 2014. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Purcell 2002, p. 2–4.
- "Australia relaunches National Rugby Championship". rugbyweek.com. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- "Queensland Country History". Queensland Rugby. 1 August 2014. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Purcell 2002, p. 6–7.
- Purcell 2002, p. 12.
- "2006 Annual Report: Rugby services". Australian Rugby Union. 31 May 2006. p. 47. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- "Queensland Rugby begins planning for new competition". rugby.com.au. 14 February 2006. Archived from the original on 25 October 2008. Retrieved 20 February 2007.
- "ARC Team names and logos announced". qru.com.au. 2 June 2006. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
- "East Coast Aces team overview". Queensland Rugby. 2007. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- "Tornadoes announce fitness test lineup". qru.com.au. 2 April 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2007.
- "Carrara Stadium". Austadiums.com. Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
- "Two Brisbane rugby teams crazy: Connolly". Sydney Morning Herald. 18 August 2006. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2007.
- "New competition vital for Wallabies". The Australian. Retrieved 25 August 2006.[dead link]
- "Former Wallaby and ex-AB to coach new Qld national teams". worldcupweb.com. 23 February 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2007.
- "ARU pull plug on Australian Rugby Championship". ESPN Scrum. 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Orme, Steve (10 December 2013). "ARU unveils new national rugby championship for 2014". Sportal. Archived from the original on 15 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Butterworth, Liam (14 January 2014). "Townsville Rugby union has submitted an expression of interest to play in the new National Rugby Championship second tier domestic competition". Townsville Bulletin. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "Australian Rugby Union says National Rugby Championship to start in August". ABC. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Harbour, Jack (25 March 2014). "Bond University named as headquarters of Queensland Country team". Gold Coast Bulletin. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
- "Bond University Queensland Country Rugby Link a major coup for Gold Coast". Bond University. 1 August 2014. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
- "Fixtures draw". Australian Rugby. 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- Bennett, Maika (22 August 2014). "Matt Brandon called into Queensland Country squad". Global RFU. Archived from the original on 22 August 2014. Retrieved 22 August 2014.
- "Queensland Country NRC squad announced". Queensland Rugby. 1 August 2014. Archived from the original on 1 August 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
- Qantas Wallabies player alignments unveiled for 2014 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship
- Purcell, Andy (2002). "120 Years of Country Rugby 1882-2002" (PDF 0.2 MB). Queensland Rugby. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "Annual Report 2013" (PDF 4.7 MB). Queensland Rugby. 2013. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.