The Australian Rugby Union has announced Allianz Australia as an official competition partner of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship and official NRC Referees Partner.
The three-year agreement, which lasts until the end of the 2016 season, will see the Allianz logo appear on the front jersey of each referee officiating a match in the competition.
Allianz Insurance joins a strong competition partner roster that includes Buildcorp as Naming Rights Partner for the National Rugby Championship, FOX SPORTS, ASICS, Gilbert, Qantas and the Intercontinental Hotel Group.
Paul Kernaghan, Allianz’s Chief Market Manager said, "We are proud to become an official competition partner of the Buildcorp NRC. The competition's innovative approach to making the game more attractive to the fans and the support for emerging talent aligns with Allianz’s ideals of continuous renewal and improvement."
Andrew Fagan, General Manager, National Teams and Rugby Operations at the Australian Rugby Union, said: “We are delighted to welcome Allianz on board as one of our valued competition partners for the Buildcorp NRC.
“The calibre of brands that have chosen to align themselves with the Buildcorp NRC – not only with the tournament itself but also with each of the nine clubs - is testament to the quality of competition that the ARU has created.
“We’re all looking forward to the big kick-off and seeing some incredible Rugby being played right across the country.”
In a deliberate move to encourage a free-flowing, tough, attractive game, referees officiating Buildcorp NRC games will implement several law variation and interpretation changes.
The law variations include a points system that reduces points for penalty goals and drop goals to two and increases the points for a conversion goal to three, while tries will continue to be worth five points. This law variation has been approved by the International Rugby Board.
Other popular law interpretation and competition changes that will be trialled are:
Being able to kick to touch and continue with a line out if a team is awarded a penalty after time has expired.
Time limits for scrum formation and kicks at goal.
- Instead of four-try bonus point system, the winning team is awarded a bonus point for finishing three or more tries ahead of their opponents.
A host of other law interpretation changes will be trialled in the 2014 Buildcorp NRC, all of which have the underlying aim of enhancing exciting play and reducing stoppages, while maintaining the fabric of the game (see attached factsheet for more detail).
The Buildcorp NRC kicks off tonight (Thursday, 21 August) with Brisbane City playing Sydney Stars at Ballymore in Brisbane. The competition will feature nine teams across 18 locations over 11 weeks and represents an important strategic development for the growth of Rugby in Australia.
The nine teams competing in the inaugural Buildcorp NRC will be: Brisbane City, Bond University Queensland Country, Macquarie University North Harbour Rays, Sydney Stars, People Culture Strategies, Greater Sydney Rams, Charles Sturt University NSW Country Eagles, University of Canberra Vikings, Melbourne Rising and Property Club Perth Spirit.