National Rugby Championship

Last updated

National Rugby Championship (NRC)
National Rugby Championship logo 2017.png
Sport Rugby union
Inaugural season 2014
Ceased 2019
Number of teams8
Country Australia (7 teams)
Fiji (1 team)
Champions Western Force (2019)
Most titles Brisbane City (2 titles)
Website rugby.com.au/competitions/nrc
Related competition

The National Rugby Championship, known as NRC, was an Australian national rugby union competition. It was contested by eight teams — seven from Australia and one from Fiji. The tournament ran from 2014 until 2019 before being disbanded at the end of 2020 following the change of the Australian rugby TV broadcasting deal from Fox Sports, who funded the competition, to Stan Sport. [1] The 2020 competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [2]

Contents

Format

The National Rugby Championship was usually held in the period between late August and early November. A round-robin tournament was scheduled first where each team plays all others once. The top four teams progress to the championship playoffs consisting of two semi-final knockout matches and a grand final to determine the champion team and winner of the NRC Trophy.

NRC winner's trophy, nicknamed 'The Toast Rack'. National Rugby Championship Trophy.jpg
NRC winner's trophy, nicknamed 'The Toast Rack'.

During the round-robin section of the tournament, teams can also play for the Horan-Little Shield, a challenge trophy that is put on the line by the holders when a challenge match is accepted or mandated according to the Shield rules.

Teams

The National Rugby Championship had eight teams competing in its final season - 2019 season:

Australia location map.svg
Teams in the 2019 National Rugby Championship  (Fijian Drua not shown on map).
NRC Competition Launch in 2014 with Buildcorp MD Tony Sukkar and players from all teams. Buildcorp NRC Competition Launch with Buildcorp MD Tony Sukkar and team captains.jpg
NRC Competition Launch in 2014 with Buildcorp MD Tony Sukkar and players from all teams.

The teams that competed in the final edition of the National Rugby Championship were.

Team DatesLicencees / associated teamsRegion
Brisbane City 2014–2019 Queensland Rugby Union / Reds Flag of Queensland.svg  Queensland
Canberra Vikings
(known as University of Canberra Vikings from 2014–2016)
2014–2019 ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union
/ Brumbies, Tuggeranong Vikings
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg  Australian Capital Territory
Fijian Drua 2017–2019 Fiji Rugby Union Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji
Melbourne Rising 2014–2019 Victorian Rugby Union / Rebels Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg  Victoria
NSW Country Eagles 2014–2019 NSW Country Rugby Union / Waratahs Flag of New South Wales.svg  New South Wales
Queensland Country 2014–2019 Queensland Rugby Union / Reds Flag of Queensland.svg  Queensland
Sydney
(known as North Harbour Rays from 2014–2015 and Sydney Rays from 2016–2018)
2014–2019 New South Wales Rugby Union / Waratahs Flag of New South Wales.svg  New South Wales
Western Force 2018–2019 RugbyWA / Force Flag of Western Australia.svg  Western Australia

Former teams
The other teams that competed in the competition between 2014 and 2019 were:

Team DatesLicencees / associated teamsRegion
Greater Sydney Rams
(known as Western Sydney Rams for 2016)
2014–2017 New South Wales Rugby Union / Eastwood, Parramatta, Penrith, Southern Districts, West Harbour Flag of New South Wales.svg  New South Wales
Perth Spirit 2014–2017 RugbyWA / Force Flag of Western Australia.svg  Western Australia
Sydney Stars 2014–2015 New South Wales Rugby Union / Balmain, Sydney University Flag of New South Wales.svg  New South Wales

Television coverage and streaming

Two of the NRC matches each weekend are broadcast live via Fox Sports, with the remaining matches shown on the Fox Sports streaming platform. [3] Discussion of the NRC competition is included on Fox Sports' review show NRC Extra Time on Monday nights, and the Kick & Chase program on Tuesday evenings.

History

Buildcorp NRC logo used 2014-2016. National Rugby Championship logo.png
Buildcorp NRC logo used 2014–2016.

In December 2013, the ARU announced that Australia would get another tier of competition under Super Rugby in line with South Africa’s Currie Cup and New Zealand's Mitre 10 Cup (then known as ITM Cup). Eleven bids were tendered from teams wanting to participate in the tournament, with nine being accepted. [4] Applicants that were not successful were advised that they could bid again as the competition matured, as early as 2015. [5]

The National Rugby Championship followed a previous national competition, the Australian Rugby Championship, that was abandoned after the first season in 2007 due to financial losses. [6] [7]

The construction company Buildcorp was the inaugural naming rights sponsor for the NRC competition, [8] with other partners including Intercontinental Hotels, Qantas, and Allianz also signed. [9] ASICS was the official apparel supplier for the first two seasons. Matches were played under approved law variations, [10] intended to increase the speed of the game. [11]

A new broadcasting deal agreed in 2015 secured the funding and future of the competition until the end of the 2020 season. [12] The competition was reduced from nine teams to eight when the ARU did not renew the NRC licence for the Sydney Stars in 2016, citing insufficient player talent to support four competitive teams in New South Wales. [13]

A team from Fiji, the Fijian Drua, joined the competition for the 2017 season. [14] For the 2018 season, the Greater Sydney Rams were dropped from the competition, leaving Sydney with just one team, the Rays. [15]

Sponsorship

The tournament is run by Rugby Australia with the sponsorship of Foxtel which provides television coverage on its Fox Sports channels. [16] Gilbert is the official supplier of all rugby balls. [8]

Player selection

Australia's Super Rugby players participate in the NRC under a capped allocation to ensure that all NRC teams have a mix of players from local development squads and club competitions, as well as those with Super Rugby experience. Australian national team players are required for Test match rugby during the NRC season, but each player is allocated to one of the NRC teams and is able to play if released from national duty.

Champions

SeasonPremiersScoreRunners-upReferee(s)VenueAttendanceDate
National Rugby Championship
2014 Brisbane City Flag of Queensland.svg 37–26 Flag of Western Australia.svg Perth SpiritR. Hoffmann Ballymore Stadium 7,8891 November 2014
2015 Brisbane City Flag of Queensland.svg 21–10 Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Canberra VikingsA. Lees Ballymore Stadium 4,32731 October 2015
2016 Perth Spirit Flag of Western Australia.svg 20–16 Flag of New South Wales.svg NSW Country EaglesN. Berry Scully Park 2,00022 October 2016
2017 Queensland Country Flag of Queensland.svg 42–28 Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Canberra VikingsW. Houston Viking Park 4,00011 November 2017
2018 Fijian Drua Flag of Fiji.svg 36–26 Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland CountryN. Berry Churchill Park 6,00027 October 2018
2019 Western Force Flag of Western Australia.svg 41–3 Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Canberra VikingsD. Murphy UWA Rugby Park 6,50026 October 2019
2020Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

Team Performance

TeamWinnersRunners-upYears wonYears runner-up
Flag of Queensland.svg Brisbane City 202014, 2015
Flag of Western Australia.svg Perth Spirit 1120162014
Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland Country 1120172018
Flag of Fiji.svg Fijian Drua 102018
Flag of Western Australia.svg Western Force 102019
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Canberra Vikings 032015, 2017, 2019
Flag of New South Wales.svg NSW Country Eagles 012016

Minor Premiers/Wooden Spoon

SeasonMinor PremierWooden Spoon
National Rugby Championship
2014 Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Melbourne Rising Flag of New South Wales.svg Sydney Stars
2015 Flag of Queensland.svg Brisbane City Flag of New South Wales.svg Greater Sydney Rams
2016 Flag of New South Wales.svg NSW Country Eagles Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland Country
2017 Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Canberra Vikings Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Melbourne Rising
2018 Flag of Fiji.svg Fijian Drua Flag of New South Wales.svg Sydney Rays
2019 Flag of Western Australia.svg Western Force Flag of New South Wales.svg Sydney (2)
2020

Team Performance

TeamMinor PremiersWooden SpoonYears Minor PremierYears Wooden Spoon
Flag of Queensland.svg Brisbane City 102015
Flag of New South Wales.svg NSW Country Eagles 102016
Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Canberra Vikings 102017
Flag of Fiji.svg Fijian Drua 102018
Flag of Western Australia.svg Western Force 102019
Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Melbourne Rising 1120142017
Flag of New South Wales.svg Sydney Stars 012014
Flag of New South Wales.svg Greater Sydney Rams 012015
Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland Country 012016
Flag of New South Wales.svg Sydney 022018, 2019

NRC Division 2

An Emerging States Championship was formed in 2018 for representative teams from smaller rugby unions within Australia. [17] There had been no regular competition for these teams since the demise of Australian Rugby Shield a decade earlier. The new tournament was hosted by Rugby Union South Australia in Adelaide and featured the South Australia Black Falcons, Victoria Country Barbarians, Northern Territory Mosquitoes and Tasmania Jack Jumpers. The Black Falcons were the inaugural winners. [18] The tournament was rebranded as NRC Division 2 for 2019, with eight representative teams invited: [19]

YearTeamsChampionRunner-upThirdFourth
2018 4 Flag of South Australia.svg South Australia Flag of Tasmania.svg Tasmania Flag of the Northern Territory.svg Northern Territory Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Victoria Country
2019 7 Flag of Western Australia.svg Perth Gold Flag of New South Wales.svg NewSouthWalesCountry Flag of Queensland.svg Queensland Country Flag of South Australia.svg South Australia
2020Cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

See also

Related Research Articles

Rugby union in Australia

Rugby union is a football code within Australia with a history dating back to 1864. Although traditionally most popular in Australia's rugby football strongholds of New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT, it is played throughout the nation.

Australia A national rugby union team

Australia A is a national representative rugby union football team of Australian rugby union. The last match played under the 'Australia A' name was in 2008, but the team was previously the second national side behind the Wallabies. Matches played by 'Australia A' were used as a stepping-stone to Wallaby selection, with the team playing at smaller venues than the Wallabies. Aspiring Wallaby players were given a chance to impress selectors during these games. In the past, the team would also play touring sides, such as the British & Irish Lions, when they visited Australia.

Brisbane City (rugby union)

Brisbane City is an Australian rugby union football team based in Brisbane that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team is one of two Queensland sides in the competition, the other being Queensland Country. Brisbane City is organised and managed by the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU), with the coaching and training programs utilised by the Queensland Reds being extended to players joining the team from the Reds and Queensland Premier Rugby teams.

Queensland Country (NRC team)

Queensland Country is an Australian rugby union football team that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team is one of two Queensland sides in the competition, the other being Brisbane City. Queensland Country is organised and managed by the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU), with the coaching and training programs used at the Queensland Reds extended to players joining the team from the Reds, Premier and Country rugby teams.

Sydney Stars

The Sydney Stars is a former Australian rugby union football team that competed in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) in 2014 and 2015. The Stars team was established as a joint venture between the Sydney University and Balmain rugby clubs, and was one of four New South Wales teams in the competition.

Sydney (NRC team)

Sydney is an Australian rugby union team that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). Formerly known as Sydney Rays, the team is one of two sides from New South Wales in the competition; the other being the NSW Country Eagles.

Greater Sydney Rams

The Greater Sydney Rams, originally known as the Western Sydney Rams, is a former rugby union team from Australia that was disbanded in 2018. The Rams won the minor premiership in the 2007 Australian Rugby Championship (ARC), and then competed in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) from 2014 to 2017.

Perth Spirit

The Perth Spirit is a former rugby union team based in Perth, Western Australia, that played in the National Rugby Championship (NRC) from 2014 to 2017, winning the competition in 2016. The team was formed in 2007 to compete in the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC).

Canberra Vikings

The Canberra Vikings, formerly the Canberra Kookaburras, is an Australian rugby union football team that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team is based at Viking Park in Wanniassa, and is backed by the Tuggeranong Vikings Group as the licence holder, with the Brumbies and University of Canberra as non-financial partners.

Melbourne Rising

The Melbourne Rising is an Australian rugby union team based in Melbourne that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team represents the rugby community in Victoria and is organised and managed by Rugby Victoria with the coaching and training programs used by the Melbourne Rebels being extended to players joining the team from the Rebels, the local Dewar Shield competition, and local Victorian juniors.

Rugby union has a long history in Australia, with the first club being formed in 1863 at Sydney University. Today it holds tier one status with World Rugby and has over 82,000 players nationwide.

2014 National Rugby Championship

The 2014 National Rugby Championship was the inaugural season of Australia's National Rugby Championship, involving nine professional rugby union teams from around Australia. The competition kicked off on 21 August 2014. The final was held on 1 November 2014 and won by Brisbane City.

New South Wales Country Eagles

The New South Wales Country Eagles is an Australian rugby union football team competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team was founded by a group of patrons associated with country rugby in New South Wales. The Eagles team plays home matches in regional centres of New South Wales including Armidale, Goulburn, Orange, and Tamworth.

The 2015 National Rugby Championship was the second season of Australia's National Rugby Championship, involving nine professional rugby union teams from around Australia. The competition kicked off 20 August 2015.

The Horan-Little Shield is a trophy in Australia's domestic rugby union competition. Proposed to the Australian Rugby Union, now known as Rugby Australia, by members of the Green and Gold Rugby supporters website, it was first played for in 2015.

The 2016 National Rugby Championship was the third season of Australia's National Rugby Championship. It involved eight professional rugby union teams, one team fewer than in the previous two seasons. The competition kicked off on 27 August 2016.

The 2017 National Rugby Championship was the fourth season of Australia's National Rugby Championship. It involved nine professional rugby union teams, one more than the previous year, with eight teams from Australia and one team from Fiji.

Fijian Drua

The Fijian Drua is a rugby union team based in Fiji that competes in the Australian National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team was created by the Fiji Rugby Union and launched in August 2017, shortly before the 2017 National Rugby Championship.

The 2018 National Rugby Championship was the fifth season of the top flight of Australian domestic rugby union. The competition began on 1 September and concluded on 27 October. Matches were roadcast on Fox Sports and the championship featured eight professional teams, seven from Australia and one from Fiji.

The 2019 National Rugby Championship was the sixth season of the top flight of Australian domestic rugby union. The competition began on 31 August and concluded on 26 October. The match of the round was broadcast live each week on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports, with all matches streamed on rugby.com.au live. The championship featured eight professional teams, seven from Australia and one from Fiji.

References

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  2. "Sport: NRC cancellation a blow for Fijian Drua rugby team". RNZ. 4 June 2020. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  3. "Historic 2017 NRC draw released as Fiji enters the fray". Australian Rugby (Press release). 21 July 2017. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  4. "ARU Board approves nine team National Rugby Championship to start in August 2014". rugby.com.au (Press release). 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  5. "SA Rugby misses out on an NRC Team". sarugby.com.au. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  6. "Australia relaunches National Rugby Championship". rugbyweek.com. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  7. "NRC update part 1: Queensland, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra". The Roar. 8 July 2014. Archived from the original on 8 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
  8. 1 2 "Buildcorp announced as National Rugby Championship naming rights partner". Australian Rugby. 16 July 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 16 July 2014.
  9. "ARU partners with Allianz for new National Rugby Championship". Australian Rugby. 20 August 2014. Archived from the original on 24 August 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  10. "Law variation". Australian Rugby Union. Archived from the original on 13 August 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2014.
  11. McKay, Brett (13 August 2015). "Law variations to continue in NRC Season 2". The Roar. Archived from the original on 12 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  12. Payten, Iain (4 March 2015). "New broadcasting deal ensures future of National Rugby Championship until at least 2020". The Courier Mail. News. Archived from the original on 9 March 2015. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  13. "Sydney Stars victims of National Rugby Championship consolidation". The Daily Telegraph. 11 February 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  14. "FRU Reveals Fiji NRC Official Name and Kit" (Press release). Fiji Rugby Union. 16 August 2017. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  15. NSW to field two NRC teams in 2018 - Beth Newman, Rugby.com.au, 6 June 2018
  16. McKay, Brett (15 July 2014). "NRC update part 3: All systems go for launch". The Roar. Archived from the original on 15 July 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
  17. "South Australia claim Emerging States Championship". Rugby Australia. 24 September 2018. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
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  19. https://sa.rugby/news/2019/09/05/nrcii-tournament

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