The competition will include two teams from Queensland, four from New South Wales and one each from, Victoria and Western Australia. Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said he was delighted that the entire Australian Rugby community has come together to form teams to take part in this exciting new competition. “The National Rugby Championship is an important strategic development for the growth of Rugby in Australia.”
“For Rugby fans it will provide an opportunity to engage with an elite Rugby competition during the second half of the year, once the Super Rugby competition is completed. “For players it represents the missing link in their development pathway towards Super Rugby and ultimately Wallaby selection. “It will also support the ARU’s objective to create additional compelling content for broadcasters with a quality local competition to rival New Zealand’s ITM Cup and South Africa’s Currie Cup.
“Consistent with our commitment to continually enhance the entertainment experience from Rugby, the ARU plans to launch a social media competition inviting Rugby fans to suggest law changes and match day innovations that could form part of this new competition. “This is an opportunity for our supporters to have their say to create a more innovative and exciting game of Rugby,” Mr Pulver said.
Teams to compete in the 2014 season are:
North Harbour Rays
Greater Sydney Rams
University of Canberra Vikings
The National Rugby Championship will kick off in late August following the State Premier Rugby Competitions and will run until the beginning of November. The competition will run for 11 weeks and include eight preliminary rounds, with each team playing four home and four away games, one bye week and finishing with semi-finals and finals. All Super Rugby players will be required to play in the National Rugby Championship, with a quota system in place to ensure each of the nine teams have a mixture of Super Rugby players and the best up and coming players from their local club competitions.
Wallabies players will be playing Tests while the National Rugby Championship is on, but each member of the Wallabies squad will be allocated across the nine teams and will play if they become available.