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About the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship
What is the NRC?
The Buildcorp NRC is a new domestic Rugby competition, which will kick off in August this year.
It will involve nine teams – two from Queensland, four from New South Wales, and one each from the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Western Australia.
The 2014 NRC teams will be:
• Brisbane City
• Queensland Country
• Macquarie University North Harbour Rays
• Sydney Stars
• Greater Sydney Rams
• NSW Country Eagles
• University of Canberra Vikings
• Melbourne Rising
• Perth Spirit
It presents a great opportunity to grow the game in Australia and is designed to give players, coaches and match officials another link in their development pathway.
What is the rationale for the competition?
For Rugby fans, it will showcase some of the best emerging talent in Australian Rugby and will provide an opportunity to engage with an elite Rugby competition during the second half of the year.
For players, it represents the missing link in their development pathway towards Super Rugby and Wallaby selection.
The NRC will also create additional compelling content for broadcasters with a quality local competition to rival New Zealand’s ITM Cup and South Africa’s Currie Cup.
How is the competition structured?
The Buildcorp NRC will run for 11 weeks from 21 August to 1 November. It will include preliminary rounds, with each team playing each other once (four home and four away games), one bye week per team and a finals series (semi-finals and final).
Who will play in the NRC?
All Super Rugby players not selected for the Qantas Wallabies will play in the Buildcorp NRC.
There will be a quota on the number of Super Rugby players in each of the nine teams, so every team will be a mixture of Super Rugby players and the best up and coming Club Rugby players.
Even though the Qantas Wallabies will be involved in international fixtures whilst the NRC is on, each member of the Wallabies squad will be allocated across the nine teams. These players will provide support to the teams and play if they become available.
Which matches will be broadcast?
FOX SPORTS will broadcast one live match per round on Thursday night. This will form part of a 5-hour Rugby line-up featuring live coverage of New Zealand’s ITM Cup from 5.30pm, a live NRC match from 7.30-9.30pm, followed by FOX SPORTS Rugby HQ at 9.30pm.
FOX SPORTS will also broadcast the semi-finals and final.
All teams will be broadcast across the first five weeks of the NRC (either home or away).
See the full competition draw for more details.
Which law variations will be trialled in the NRC?
Consistent with our commitment to continually enhance the entertainment experience from Rugby, we will be trialling a number of law variations as well as some law application changes in this inaugural season of the Buildcorp NRC.
The principles guiding this process have been to maintain the fabric of the game, whilst enhancing exciting play.
The ARU ran a social media campaign which allowed fans to contribute their ideas on law variations that should be trialled.
After receiving over 600 law variation suggestions from fans, a shortlist of new law variations is currently being considered. The final changes will be announced in the coming weeks.
How is this different to the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC)?
The objective of this competition and the ARC are the same – to help develop elite talent in Australian Rugby, but the funding model is the main difference between the two competitions.
The Buildcorp NRC will be self-funded, while the ARC cost Australian Rugby around $5 million in its first season, which made it financially unsustainable.
Investment from broadcast partners Foxtel and FOX SPORTS, a reduced player payment model agreed with RUPA and the commercial support of new partners in Rugby, notably a number of universities, are all significant advancements on the ARC business model from 2007.
Combined with the efforts of each of the NRC teams to generate additional funds through sponsorship and private investment, the Buildcorp NRC is fundamentally a financially sustainable business model.