The Perth Spirit will host three matches of the National Rugby Championship (NRC) at suburban venues across Perth as a means of bringing the new competition to the Western Australian rugby public.
The Spirit, a team to be formed from Western Force players and leading players from Perth’s Pindan Premier Grade, will play home matches at McGillivray Oval (Sunday, 31 August), Joondalup’s HBF Arena (Sunday, 28 September) and Rockingham Rugby Union Club (Saturday, 4 October).
The Spirit’s fourth home fixture will be played in Adelaide (Saturday, 6 September) against the Greater Sydney Rams as a means of assisting to grow rugby in South Australia.
The Spirit will kick off its NRC campaign against the Canberra Vikings in Canberra on Saturday, 23 August.
RugbyWA CEO Mark Sinderberry said it was the organisation’s aim to share Spirit matches across Perth.
“The Spirit represents all of Perth and WA and, as a result, we wanted to make the games as accessible to our rugby community as possible,” he said.
“We’re very pleased to be hosting two home matches at two of our local clubs in UWA and Rockingham, and as one of the fastest growing rugby regions in the country, it was important that we take a match to the Joondalup, Wanneroo and North Coast area at HBF Arena.
“Through our scheduling of home matches, we’re very pleased to be hosting one match each in the north, central and south regions of Perth.”
Sinderberry says the third-tier competition is valuable for the development of rugby in Western Australia.
“Similar to New Zealand’s ITM Cup and the Currie Cup in South Africa, a competition like this provides additional high level rugby opportunities for our aspiring local players and Super Rugby players alike,” he said.
“In addition to Force squad members, the Spirit will feature a significant number of our talented local club players, Australian Under 20 stars, and Future Force recruits.
“This competition is a great opportunity for our rugby community to not only continue to follow their Force favourites, but watch the next generation of Western Australia’s Super Rugby talent come through.”
According to the 2014 National Rugby Championship draw released today (click here to view), the competition will kick off in Brisbane on Thursday, 21 August and will feature a number of law variations designed to enhance exciting play while maintaining the fabric of the game.