The Melbourne Rising will spread their home games across four different days of the week, in a feature of the fixture announced today for the inaugural Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) which also sees afternoon Rugby return to AAMI Park.
Playing out of AAMI Park, the Rising play their first ever game in Round One against the North Harbour Rays on Friday August 22nd, kicking off at 7:30pm, before their first confirmed broadcast match in Round Three against the Perth Spirit on Thursday September 11th, also at 7:30pm.
Then, for the first time since the Melbourne Rebels hosted the Cheetahs on a Sunday afternoon in March 2012, afternoon Rugby returns to AAMI Park with 2pm kick-offs scheduled for the remaining two Rising home games.
The first sees the Rising host the Canberra Vikings at 2:00pm on Sunday September 28th, in Round Six, before the final home game in Round Nine against Queensland Country at 2:00pm on Saturday October 18th. AAMI Park will also be the venue if the Rising earn a home Semi Final, or hosting rights for the Final.
The final two home matches are subject to change, with broadcaster FOX SPORTS to decide which matches will be televised from Round Six to Round Nine at a later date (to be confirmed).
FOX SPORTS are set to broadcast one live NRC match each week. This will form part of a bumper Thursday night Rugby line-up, starting with live coverage of the New Zealand ITM Cup at 5.30pm, a live NRC match from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, leading into FOX SPORTS Rugby HQ.
There are also plenty of highlights in the Club's travel itinerary, with four games interstate providing Rising fans the opportunity to follow their team on the road. In Round Two, the Rising play the Sydney Stars at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday August 31, and the next week sees the Rising head to Ballymore to face Brisbane City on Saturday September 6.
A trip into the country takes place in Round Five, when the Rising head to Orange in Central West NSW to take on NSW Country on Saturday September 20th, and a final away fixture for the Rising is scheduled for Saturday October 11th when we are hosted by the Greater Sydney Rams at Pirtek Stadium in Round Eight.
Season ticket packages will go on sale shortly for the Melbourne Rising season; click here to register your interest today and be the first to know when they tickets are available.
Buildcorp were today announced by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) as the Official Naming Rights Partner of the NRC for the next three seasons. RaboDirect will be the Melbourne Rising's front of jersey sponsor, while we will be announcing additional partnerships in the near future.
Buildcorp is a leading provider of integrated construction services, with operations on Australia's eastern seaboard specialising in construction, remedial building, interior fit-out and refurbishment.
Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said he was thrilled to partner with a company which already has strong existing links to Australian Rugby.
"With the competition kick-off just five weeks away, we are excited to announce this new partnership with Buildcorp - a company that has been supporting Rugby in Australia for more than 20 years."
"The inaugural year of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship promises to deliver a terrific spectacle for fans and players after the Super Rugby and Club Rugby seasons have finished.
"Rugby fans will now have the opportunity to watch even more quality Rugby in the second half of the year, including some of Australia's most exciting emerging talent."
Buildcorp Managing Director Tony Sukkar said the partnership was a fantastic new development for Buildcorp, which complements the company's existing long-term sponsorship of University Rugby in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.
"We are proud to be supporting this important new tier of Australian Rugby, which represents the missing link in the player development pathway from the grassroots through to Super Rugby and Wallaby selection.
"Buildcorp's corporate values are naturally aligned with those of Australian Rugby, and our partnership with the NRC takes our association to the next level. More than just supporters and sponsors we want to continue to play an active role in building the game across Australia.
"There are an enormous number of talented young players coming though the Rugby ranks, and we're confident the NRC will provide greater opportunities for those players," he said.
In another boost for the new competition, ASICS has extended its involvement with Australian Rugby and will be supplying all match day and training apparel for NRC teams, while GILBERT will supply all match day and training balls.