Queensland Country (NRC team)
|Region||Queensland Regions, excl. Brisbane|
|League(s)||National Rugby Championship|
Queensland Country is an Australian rugby union 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 high performance programs utilised by the Queensland Reds being 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 colour scheme has been adopted for the team in the new competition and, while the Heelers' cattle dog logo is not used, an emblem based on the traditional logo of the Queensland Country Rugby Union has been adopted. The Queensland Country uniform is blue and white, with a crest featuring the traditional Orchid logo inside the iconic Queensland Rugby ‘Q’ on the chest of the jersey.
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 will play at a variety of regional centres throughout the state in 2014. Existing QRU staffing roles and infrastructure are utilised, and the training base for the team is at QRU's headquarters at Ballymore.
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 growth of rugby league after 1909, and the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 brought rugby union to a halt in Queensland. 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 replaced by State Championships in 1983, and the format of the competiton 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
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)
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 for the first year of the competition. On 24 March 2014, it was announced that the Queensland Country and Brisbane City teams would play in the NRC comptition.
The Queensland Country team will play at a variety of regional centres throughout the state. The team will train at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane, the spiritual and administrative home of Queensland Rugby.
The squad for the 2014 National Rugby Championship season:
|This section requires expansion. (July 2014)|
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