Fiji's NRC journey begins at Ballymore

NRC
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Fiji will officially be a part of the NRC come September 2, with the 2017 fixture announced on Friday.

The competition will kick off a week later this season, starting on September 2, with the Canberra Vikings hosting Queensland Country before the Fijians kick off their NRC induction against Brisbane City at Ballymore, in one of two regular season matches at QRU headquarters in 2017.

Perth Spirit kicks off its title defence at home against three-time semi-finalists Melbourne Rising.

While the line-up in Australia looks relatively similar, both the Canberra Vikings and Greater Sydney Rams have changed hands over the year, with the Vikings now a part of the Vikings Sports Group and the Rams owned by Shute Shield club Eastwood, set to play out of TG Millner Oval.Perth Spirit are the defending NRC champions. Photo: Getty ImagesThe competition will again incorporate a Pasifika round, an element that was embraced by many teams last season. 

The NSW Country Eagles will take games to Armidale, Tamworth and Orange, while Queensland Country will head to the Sunshine Coast for the first time, taking on Brisbane City in Noosa.

The fourth iteration of the competition will be looking to build on the growth of the first three seasons, after a 65 per cent increase in viewership and a 10 per cent rise in attendances last year.

ARU high performance manager Ben Whitaker said the inclusion of Fiji would be a watershed moment for the developing competition.

“The NRC continues to grow and with the inclusion of Fiji the 2017 season will have an international flavour which will boost the appeal of the competition for fans even further," he said.

“The quality of Rugby has improved dramatically from year to year and it is bound to go up another notch as the NRC enters its fourth season.

“Importantly, the NRC has proven to be a successful platform for player and coach development with graduation into Super Rugby positions at its highest in 2016. Both the players and coaches have overwhelmingly backed the competition, as have the fans, who watched the NRC in record numbers last season.”

Every Saturday and Sunday 3pm match will be televised LIVE on FOX SPORTS, with the remaining match-ups LIVE streamed on foxsports.com.au and via the FOX SPORTS app, the second year every match will be shown live in some capacity.

Want to know which of your team's matches you simply can't miss? Click here.

Full fixture PDF here.

FIXTURE

2017 NRC fixture

(all times local)

ROUND 1

Saturday September 2

Canberra Vikings vs QLD Country -  Viking Park, Canberra - 1.00pm

Brisbane City vs Fiji - Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane -  3.00pm 

Sunday September 3

Greater Sydney Rams vs NSW Country Eagles - TG Millner Oval, Sydney - 3.00pm

Perth Spirit vs Melbourne Rising  McGillivray Oval, Perth - 3.00pm

Bye - Sydney Rays

ROUND 2

Saturday September 9 

QLD Country vs Brisbane City - Noosa Dolphins RU Club, Noosa - 1.00pm

Melbourne Rising v Fiji   Harlequin Oval, Melbourne - 3:00pm

Sunday September 10

Canberra Vikings vs Perth Spirit   Viking Park, Canberra - 1.00pm

Sydney Rays vs Greater Sydney Rams - Macquarie Uni, Sydney 3.00pm

Bye - NSW Country Eagles

ROUND 3

Saturday September 16

Sydney Rays vs Melbourne Rising - Pittwater Rugby Park, Sydney - 1.00pm

Fiji vs NSW Country Eagles - Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka - 5.00pm

Sunday September 17

Brisbane City vs Canberra Vikings - UQ Rugby Club, Brisbane  1.00pm

Perth Spirit vs Greater Sydney Rams - McGillivray Oval, Perth - 1.00pm

Bye - QLD Country

ROUND 4

Saturday September 23

NSW Country Eagles vs Canberra Vikings - Bellevue Oval, Armidale - 1.00pm

Fiji vs Perth Spirit- ANZ Stadium, Suva - 5.00pm 

Sunday September 24

Sydney Rays vs QLD Country- Pittwater Rugby Park, Sydney - 1.00pm

Melbourne Rising vs Greater Sydney Rams - Harlequin Oval, Melbourne - 3.00pm

BYE -  Brisbane City                  

ROUND 5

Friday September 29 

Canberra Vikings vs Fiji  - Viking Park, Canberra - 7.30pm

Saturday September 30 

QLD Country vs Melbourne Rising -  Bond University, Gold Coast - 3.00pm

Sunday October 1 

Perth Spirit vs Brisbane City - McGillivray Oval, Perth - 2.00pm

Monday October 2        

NSW Country Eagles vs Sydney Rays - Simon Poidevin Oval, Goulburn - 3.00pm

Bye - Greater Sydney Rams

ROUND 6 -  PACIFIKA  ROUND

Saturday October 7

QLD Country vs NSW Country Eagles - Bond University, Gold Coast- 12.00pm

Greater Sydney Rams vs Fiji - TG Millner Oval, Sydney- 3.00pm

Sunday October 8

Melbourne Rising vs Canberra Vikings - Frankston Park, Frankston - 1.00pm

Sydney Rays vs Brisbane City - Pittwater Rugby Park, Sydney - 3.00pm

Bye - Perth Spirit

ROUND 7

Saturday October 14

Greater Sydney Rams vs QLD Country - TG Millner Oval, Sydney - 1.00pm

NSW Country Eagles vs Perth Spirit- Scully Park, Tamworth - 3.00pm

Sunday October 15

Brisbane City vs Melbourne Rising - Wests Bulldogs RU Club, Brisbane  - 12.00pm

Canberra Vikings vs Sydney Rays Viking Park, Canberra - 3.00pm

Bye - Fiji

ROUND 8

Saturday October 21 

Brisbane City vs Greater Sydney Rams - Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane - 2.00pm

Fiji vs QLD Country -  Churchill Park, Lautoka - 7.00pm

Perth Spirit vs Sydney Rays -  McGillivray Oval, Perth - 2.00pm

Sunday October 22

Melbourne Rising vs NSW Country Eagles -  Harlequin Oval, Melbourne - 1.00pm

Bye - Canberra Vikings

ROUND 9

Saturday October 28

NSW Country Eagles vs Brisbane City - Wade Park, Orange - 1.00pm

Fiji vs Sydney Rays - ANZ Stadium, Suva  - 4.00pm

Sunday October 29

QLD Country vs Perth Spirit- Qld Group Stadium, Ipswich -  12.00pm

Greater Sydney Rams vs Canberra Vikings - TG Millner Oval, Sydney - 3.00pm

Bye - Melbourne Rising

SEMI-FINALS

Saturday November 4

1st Place vs 4th Place -  1st-place Venue - 3.00pm 

Sunday November 5

2nd Place vs 3rd Place - 2nd-place Venue - 3.00pm

Grand Final

Saturday November 11

Winner Semi-Final 1 vs Winner Semi-final 2 - Venue TBC - 7:30pm

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