National Rugby Championship

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National Rugby Championship
Current season or competition:
2014 National Rugby Championship
National Rugby Championship logo.png
Sport Rugby union football
Instituted 2014
Inaugural season 2014
Number of teams 9
Country Australia
Website rugby.com.au/nrc
Broadcast partner Fox Sports
Related competition

The National Rugby Championship, or NRC, is Australia's domestic professional rugby competition that will begin in August 2014, under the Australian Rugby Union.[1] Nine teams from around Australia will compete in the inaugural season. The Championship will be the highest tier of competition below the transnational Super Rugby tournament, which also involves New Zealand and South Africa. It is believed to be an important strategic development for the growth of rugby in Australia, and will provide further competition for non-international players after the Super Rugby season.

Format and sponsorship[edit]

Format[edit]

The tournament will kick-off in late August, following the State Premier Rugby Competitions and will end in November. The competition will run for eleven weeks, including nine preliminary rounds, where each team will play each other once. These games will be split equally, so that each team has four home games, and four away games with one bye in a season. The preliminary rounds will be followed with semi-finals, contested by the top four teams, and finals to determine the champion of each season.

Sponsorship[edit]

Buildcorp was announced as the Official Naming Rights Partner of the National Rugby Championship in July 2014. ASICS and Gilbert were named as the suppliers of all match day and training apparel, and match day and training balls, respectively.[2]

The tournament will be run by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) with the sponsorship of Foxtel and Fox Sports, and at least one match per round will be broadcast live on Fox Sports.[3] Arrangements for the live streaming of other games, either through the Fox Sports website or a dedicated NRC site, are being considered. The ARU's Andrew Fagan confirmed that Fox have the digital rights as part of their NRC broadcast rights deal,[3] but that these streamed games will be available for free:

Whichever [streaming] option we go with, it will be free access,” Fagan said. “The core objective of this competition is to provide high level rugby in a very accessible way, whether that’s the ticket prices for the matches themselves, or for streaming for those who don’t have Fox Sports.

—Andrew Fagan, ARU General Manager, National Teams and Rugby Operation, 2014.[3]

Background[edit]

In December 2013, the ARU announced that Australia would get a third-tier competition in line with South Africa’s Currie Cup and New Zealand's ITM Cup. Eleven tenders were received for teams to take part in the tournament, with nine being accepted. The unsuccessful applicants were advised that they could be considered again as the competition matures, as early as 2015.[4]

The National Rugby Championship follows a previous attempt at a third tier competition, the Australian Rugby Championship, that was abandoned after the first season in 2007 due to financial losses.[5]

Teams[edit]

Teams to compete in the 2014 season are the following:[6][7]

Team Licencees and associated clubs Match venues Head coach Captain
Name City Capacity
Brisbane City QRU / Reds Ballymore[8]
Suncorp Stadium[7]
Brisbane
Brisbane
24,000
52,500
Nick Stiles[8] TBA
Queensland Country QRU / Reds Bond University[9]
Cbus Super Stadium[7]
Ballymore[7]
Mike Carney Toyota Park[7]
Gold Coast 
Gold Coast
Brisbane
Townsville
    TBA
27,000
24,000
    TBA
Steve Meehan[8] TBA
North Harbour Rays Manly, Warringah, Gordon, Norths Brookvale Oval[10] Sydney 23,000 Geoff Townsend[11] TBA
Sydney Stars Sydney University, Balmain Leichhardt Oval[10] Sydney 22,000 Chris Malone[12] TBA
Greater Sydney Rams West Harbour, Penrith, Parramatta, Southern Districts * Parramatta Stadium[13] Sydney 20,700[14] Brian Melrose[15] TBA
New South Wales Country Eagles  Easts, Randwick Caltex Park[7]
Wade Park[7]
Oakes Oval[7]
Coogee Oval[7]
Dubbo
Orange
Lismore
Sydney
12,000
  8,000
10,000
  5,000
Darren Coleman[12] TBA
Canberra Vikings ACT Rugby / Brumbies, University of Canberra, Tuggeranong Vikings Viking Park[10] Canberra 10,000[16] Dan McKellar[17] TBA
Melbourne Rising VRU / Rebels AAMI Park[10][18] Melbourne 29,500[19] Sean Hedger[20] TBA
Perth Spirit WA / Force University of WA[7]
HBF Arena[7]
Rockingham RUC[7]
Thebarton Oval[7]
Perth
Perth
Perth
Adelaide
    TBA
16,000
    TBA
15,000
TBA TBA
  • Eastwood withdrew from the Rams partnership in July 2014 citing financial concerns.[12][21]

Team selection[edit]

All Super Rugby players will be required to play in the NRC and a quota system is in place to ensure each of the nine teams have a mixture of Super Rugby players and the best up and coming players from their local club competitions. Australian national team players will be playing Test match rugby while the NRC is being held. However, each member of the national team will be allocated across the nine teams and will play if they become available.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "ARU Board approves nine team National Rugby Championship to start in August 2014". rugby.com.au (Press release). 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  2. ^ "Buildcorp announced as National Rugby Championship naming rights partner". Australian Rugby. 16 July 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c McKay, Brett (15 July 2014). "NRC update part 3: All systems go for launch". The Roar. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "SA Rugby misses out on an NRC Team". sarugby.com.au. 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Australia relaunches National Rugby Championship". rugbyweek.com. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Bill Pulver releases details on the new National Rugby Championship, which kicks off in August". foxsports.com.au. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Fixtures draw". Australian Rugby. 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c "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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b c d Horne, Ben (24 March 2014). "Bill Pulver says National Rugby Championship will make money". Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  11. ^ Cook, Paul (9 June 2014). "NRC: Geoff Townsend Announced As North Harbour Rays Head Coach". Rugby News. Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c "NRC update part 2: NSW Country and the Sydney teams". The Roar. 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  13. ^ Smith, Wayne (26 June 2014). "Test taster has Rebel Jones wanting to call NRC shots". The Australian. News Limited. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Pirtek Stadium". austadiums.com. 25 July 2006. Archived from the original on 6 February 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Rams are welcoming back Brian "Billy" Melrose as Head Coach in 2014". twitter.com/Rams_Rugby. 4 May March 2014. Archived from the original on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Viking Park". austadiums.com. 25 July 2006. Archived from the original on 29 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  17. ^ Gaskin, Lee (24 March 2014). "Brumbies to dominate University of Canberra Vikings squad for new competition". The Canberra Times (Fairfax). Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Rising to play at AAMI Park". 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
  19. ^ "Melbourne Rectangular Stadium". austadiums.com. Archived from the original on 16 October 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2009. 
  20. ^ "Melbourne Rising announce coaching setup" (Press release). Melbourne Rebels. 19 June 2014. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  21. ^ "Eastwood quit Greater Sydney Rams partnership". ESPN Scrum. 2 July 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 

External links[edit]