|Number of teams||8|
|Champions||Fijian Drua (2018)|
|Most titles||Brisbane City (2 titles)|
|Broadcast partner||Fox Sports|
The National Rugby Championship, known as NRC, is an Australian national rugby union competition. As of 2018 [update] , it was contested by seven teams from around Australia plus one from Fiji.
Rugby union, widely known simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.
Fiji, officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand's North Island. Its closest neighbours are Vanuatu to the west, New Caledonia to the southwest, New Zealand's Kermadec Islands to the southeast, Tonga to the east, the Samoas and France's Wallis and Futuna to the northeast, and Tuvalu to the north. Fiji consists of an archipelago of more than 330 islands—of which 110 are permanently inhabited—and more than 500 islets, amounting to a total land area of about 18,300 square kilometres (7,100 sq mi). The most outlying island is Ono-i-Lau. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the total population of 898,760. The capital, Suva, on Viti Levu, serves as the country's principal cruise-ship port. About three-quarters of Fijians live on Viti Levu's coasts, either in Suva or in smaller urban centres such as Nadi—where tourism is the major local industry—or Lautoka, where the sugar-cane industry is paramount. Due to its terrain, the interior of Viti Levu is sparsely inhabited.
The NRC is the top-level tournament administered by Rugby Australia. It is a competition for players in Australia following the Super Rugby season.
Rugby Australia, known as the Australian Rugby Union until 2017, is the governing body of rugby union in Australia. It was officially constituted in 1949 and is a member of World Rugby (WR), the sport's international governing body. Rugby Australia has eight member unions, representing each state and territory. It also manages Australia's national rugby union teams, including the Wallabies.
Super Rugby is a professional men's rugby union competition involving teams from Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Japan. Building on various Southern Hemisphere competitions dating back to the South Pacific Championship in 1986, with teams from a number of southern nations, Super Rugby started as the Super 12 in the 1996 season with 12 teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Super 12 was established by SANZAR after the sport became professional in 1995. The competition is widely regarded as rugby union's toughest provincial competition.
The National Rugby Championship is usually held in the period between late August and early November. A round-robin tournament is 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.
A round-robin tournament is a competition in which each contestant meets all other contestants in turn. A round-robin contrasts with an elimination tournament, in which participants are eliminated after a certain number of losses.
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.
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 National Rugby Championship has eight teams competing in the 2018 season:
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.
|Team||Licencees and associated clubs|
|Brisbane City||QRU / Reds|
|Canberra Vikings||ACT&SNSWRU / Brumbies, Tuggeranong Vikings|
|Fijian Drua||Fiji Rugby Union|
|NSW Country||NSW Country Rugby Union, Sydney University, Easts, Randwick|
|Melbourne Rising||VRU / Rebels|
|Queensland Country||QRU / Reds|
|Sydney Rays||Gordon, Manly, Norths, Warringah|
|Western Force||WA / Force|
Two of the NRC matches each weekend are broadcast live via Fox Sports, with the remaining matches shown on the Fox Sports streaming platform.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.
Fox Sports is an Australian group of sports channels, which is owned by Foxtel. Its main competitors are ESPN and beIN Sports, both available as part of a Foxtel subscription.
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.Applicants that were not successful were advised that they could bid again as the competition matured, as early as 2015.
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.
The construction company Buildcorp was the inaugural naming rights sponsor for the NRC competition,with other partners including Intercontinental Hotels, Qantas, and Allianz also signed. ASICS was the official apparel supplier for the first two seasons. Matches were played under approved law variations, intended to increase the speed of the game.
A new broadcasting deal agreed in 2015 secured the funding and future of the competition until the end of the 2020 season.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.
A team from Fiji, the Fijian Drua, joined the competition for the 2017 season.For the 2018 season, the Greater Sydney Rams were dropped from the competition, leaving Sydney with just one team, the Rays.
The tournament is run by Rugby Australia with the sponsorship of Foxtel which provides television coverage on its Fox Sports channels.Gilbert is the official supplier of all rugby balls.
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.
|2 (2014, 2015)||0||0|
|1 (2016)||1 (2014)||2 (2017, 2018)|
|1 (2017)||1 (2018)||0|
|1 (2018)||0||1 (2017)|
|0||2 (2015, 2017)||1 (2018)|
|0||1 (2016)||1 (2014)|
|0||0||3 (2014, 2015, 2016)|
Wins by State/Territory/Nation
|Year||# of Teams||Final||Semi-final knockouts|
|2014||9|| Brisbane City ||37–26|
|2015||9|| Brisbane City ||21–10|
|2016||8|| Perth Spirit ||20–16|
|2017||9|| Queensland Country ||42–28|
|2018||8|| Fijian Drua ||36–26|
In 2018 an additional competition was formed for teams from so-called "Emerging States",featuring the Adelaide Black Falcons, Victoria Country Barbarians, Northern Territory Mosquitoes and Tasmania Jack Jumpers. The first Competition was held in Adelaide in September 2018, and the Black Falcons were the inaugural winners.
Rugby union is a winter sport in 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.
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 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.
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.
The Sydney Rays is an Australian rugby union team that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team is one of two sides from New South Wales in the competition; the other being the NSW Country Eagles.
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.
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).
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.
The National Women's Championship was the highest-tier competition of women's rugby union in Australia through the 2017 season. It is set to be superseded as the top level of the women's sport by the new Super W competition from the 2018 season forward.
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.
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.
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.
Kevin Foote is a South African professional rugby union football coach, and a former player for the South African sevens national team. He is currently based in Australia and is the defence coach at the Melbourne Rebels team that plays in the Super Rugby competition.
David Wessels, is a professional rugby union football coach. He is currently the head coach of the Melbourne Rebels team that plays in the Super Rugby competition. He was previously head coach at the Western Force, and co-head coach of the Perth Spirit in Australia's National Rugby Championship. South African born, Wessels is a naturalised Australian citizen.
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 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.
Thomas "Tom" Cusack is an Australian professional rugby union player who plays as a flanker for the Brumbies in Super Rugby. He is currently captain of the Canberra Vikings team in Australia's National Rugby Championship, and previously represented Australia in rugby sevens.
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.