Queensland Country (NRC team)
Bond University Queensland Country
|Region||Queensland Regions, excluding Brisbane|
|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 and Country rugby teams.
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 1882. Prior to this, Melbourne rules (Australian football) was more often 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 inaugural Country Week carnival hosted by the QRU in 1902. Despite several successful seasons, the Country Week carnivals ceased following the rise of rugby league after 1909. The start of the First World War brought rugby union to a halt in Queensland after 1914. Although the QRU was eventually revived in 1928–29, rugby languished in country regions of the state for many decades.
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. While the format of competition has varied over time, 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 Aces played 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.
Anthony Fainga'a was Queensland Country's captain for the inaugural season in 2014. Fainga'a was initially named as captain again for the following season but he was forced out through injury and James Tuttle became the captain for 2015.
The Queensland Country team has its training base at Ballymore in Brisbane, the traditional home of Queensland Rugby. The team has scheduled home matches at the following locations for the 2016 season:
|Gold Coast||Bond University Field||5,000|
Other home match locations used in previous seasons:
|Gold Coast||Cbus Super Stadium||27,000|
|Sunshine Coast||Stockland Park||12,000|
|Townsville||Mike Carney Toyota Park||5,000|
(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 2016 8th 7 1 0 6 248 346 −98 3 7 Did not compete 2015 8th 8 2 0 6 230 336 –106 1 9 Did not compete 2014 8th 8 2 0 6 208 281 −73 3 11 Did not compete
2015 Queensland Country squad – NRC The squad for the 2015 National Rugby Championship season:
- Matt Gordon
- Izaia Perese
- Chris Feauai-Sautia
- Elliot Hagen
- Tom Banks
- Jamie-Jerry Taulagi
(c) Team captain
1 National player additional to contracted squad.
2014 Queensland Country squad – NRC The squad for the 2014 National Rugby Championship season:
- 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)
- Queensland Reds
- Queensland Premier Rugby
- Rugby union in Queensland
- Combined New South Wales–Queensland Country
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- Qantas Wallabies player alignments unveiled for 2014 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship
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