As the Super Rugby season enters its second month of the expanded 2011 season, the home-grown and up and coming stars of the game will take the field in their home towns and at their local grounds as Club Rugby kicks off once again.
Round 1 began last weekend with players donning their club colours for the first time in 2011, wowing crowds around their home-towns with impressive first round performances all-round.
Rugby HQ takes a quick look at where you can see the Qantas Wallabies of tomorrow on show and where your local club is at for the 2011 season.
ACT – John I Dent Cup
The John I Dent Cup is based in the nation’s capital, Canberra, and contested between seven Premier Division clubs. The Canberra-based club competition has produced current stars such as Australian Sevens graduate and Brumbies centre Robbie Coleman and current Sevens star Dan Yakopo.
The 2010 competition was won by Queanbeyan, who have claimed the title in three of the past four seasons. Their usual battle with rivals Tuggeranong, who won the title in 2009, will no doubt be a talking point around the Rugby community in Canberra and is certainly set to entertain and excite club Rugby fans around the Territory.
Teams: Easts (shouldn’t Easts have a mascot/name like the rest of them?), Gungahlin Eagles, Queanbeyan Whites, Canberra Royals, Tuggeranong Vikings, Uni-Norths Owls, Wests Lions.
NSW – Shute Shield
The Shute Shield is well known for producing and displaying some of the finest and most raw talent in Australian Rugby each year. With stars such as David Campese, George Smith and current Qantas Wallabies Berrick Barnes and Benn Robinson all having cut their teeth at one point in the club competition, the Sydney-based tournament ignites the grandstands each season with Rugby talent of young and old strutting their stuff in between the white lines.
The 2010 Shield was claimed by six-time consecutive winners, Sydney University, who again battled it out in the final against the infamous Galloping Greens – Randwick. The two historic clubs will also face challenges in Easts, Manly, Warringah and Eastwood in 2011 with the revamped Super Rugby competition sure to affect the usually dominant sides.
Teams: Manly, Gordon, Eastwood, Southern Districts, West Harbour, Penrith, Eastern Suburbs, Northern Suburbs, Warringah, Randwick, Sydney University, Parramatta.
Queensland – Premier Rugby Competition
Known for years as the second-best club competition in Australia, the Queensland Premier competition has asserted itself as an equal-standard of talent in recent years with the emergence of stars such as Stephen Moore, Australian Sevens graduate Liam Gill and former All Black Caleb Ralph even trying his hand in the competition.
The 2010 competition was won, like in Sydney, by University – who also claimed the Australian Club Championship against their educated friends just two weeks ago.
Teams: Brothers, Easts, GPS, Norths, Souths, Sunnybank, Sunshine Coast, University, Wests.
Western Australia – KWIK Premier Rugby
The Western Australian competition may not be the most star-studded of the Australian club tournaments, however the intensity and excitement is still there to be enjoyed. With the establishment of the Western Force in 2006, the Perth-based Super Rugby franchise brought with it a new found following for the game they play in heaven. Usually dominated by the AFL-code, Western Australia adopted Rugby as a new passion for the state out in the West and the Premier competition only flourished with a new found fan-base.
The 2010 competition was won by Nedlands, who battled it out in the decider against the traditionally strong Cottesloe club.
Teams: Nedlands, Cottesloe, Associates, Palmyra, Kalamunda, Wanneroo, UWA, Wests Subiaco, Perth Bayswater, Rockingham.