In December 2013, Australian Rugby Union announced the launch of the National Rugby Championship, a new domestic competition set to start in 2014. The tournament will create a pathway for junior Rugby representatives to develop into elite players, coaches and match officials.
Nine teams will compete in the inaugural season of the National Rugby Championship - two teams from Queensland, four from New South Wales and one each from the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia, and as part of a deliberate strategy to re-engage with passionate Rugby supporters in regional Australia it will include teams representing Queensland Country and NSW Country.
Teams to compete in the 2014 season are:
• Brisbane City (QRU/Reds)
• Queensland Country (QRU/Reds)
• North Harbour Rays (Manly, Warringah, Gordon and Norths)
• Sydney Stars (Sydney University and Balmain)
• Greater Sydney Rams (West Harbour, Penrith, Parramatta, Eastwood and Southern Districts)
• NSW Country (in partnership with Randwick and Easts)
• University of Canberra Vikings (ACT Rugby/Brumbies, University of Canberra and Tuggeranong Vikings)
• Melbourne Rising (VRU/Rebels)
• Perth Spirit (Rugby WA/Force)
The NRC will kick off in late August following the State Premier Rugby Competitions and will run until the beginning of November.
The competition will run for 11 weeks and include eight preliminary rounds, with each team playing four home and four away games, one bye week and finishing with semi-finals and finals.