Australian Director of Rugby Sevens Geraint John has thrown his backing behind the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship, revealing that contracted players from the Rugby Sevens program will be released for NRC duty if the situation is right for all parties.
John, who led the Australian Men's Rugby Sevens team to a well-earned Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month, was a keen viewer as the new competition kicked off last Thursday at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane.
"It was great to see the Buildcorp NRC get underway last week on FOX SPORTS. Even though Liam Gill wasn't on the pitch [for Brisbane City], it was good to see him interviewed on the sideline after he played especially well for us at the Commonwealth Games. It's a good opportunity for me to look at some of the talent across the country and see what's out there as an avid Rugby fan too.
John confirmed that he has released Afa Pakalani (Greater Sydney Rams) and Tom Cusack (University of Canberra Vikings) for Round Two of the Buildcorp NRC.
"For tonight's game, we've let Afa and Tom play for their two respective teams. We're looking at it on an individual, case-by-case basis. Certain players may need some actual Rugby at this specific moment in time.
"We are, of course, preparing for the first IRB tournament on the Olympic qualification calendar on the Gold Coast, but we're also looking at the individual players themselves and asking whether they need actual Rugby. here's a great opportunity for them to play and, as I say, Afa and Tom will do that in the second round of the Buildcorp NRC and I will be there to watch as well.
"If the opportunity arises then yes, I will be trying to get as many Buildcorp NRC games as possible. I'll be asking other people to go and watch games as well. You never know what's out there as well. Are there players out there who may not be on Super Rugby contracts? Or players who may want to give Rugby Sevens a go? Then obviously we are keen to have a look at them and have them up here in Narrabeen in our centralised program.
"We're fortunate through the analysis and fair-play system every game is coded for us so we'll get copies of the games here at our base and have an opportunity to look at that. Not only myself and the coaches but also MJ [Team Analyst Matt Johnston] will be watching with interest and report back."
Round Two of the Buildcorp NRC kicks off tonight at Pirtek Stadium with the Greater Sydney Rams hosting the University of Canberra Vikings. The game will be broadcast on FOX SPORTS.