|Number of teams||8|
|Country|| Australia (7 teams)|
Fiji (1 team)
|Champions||Western Force (2019)|
|Most titles||Brisbane City (2 titles)|
|Broadcast partner||Fox Sports|
The National Rugby Championship, known as NRC, is an Australian national rugby union competition. It is contested by eight teams — seven from Australia and one from Fiji.
The NRC is the top-level tournament administered by Rugby Australia. It is a competition for players in Australia following the Super Rugby season.
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.
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 National Rugby Championship has eight teams competing in the 2018 season:
|Team||Licencees / associated teams||Region|
|Brisbane City||Queensland Rugby Union / Reds|
|Canberra Vikings|| ACT and Southern NSW Rugby Union |
/ Brumbies, Tuggeranong Vikings
|Fijian Drua||Fiji Rugby Union|
|NSW Country||NSW Country Rugby Union / Waratahs|
|Melbourne Rising||Victorian Rugby Union / Rebels|
|Queensland Country||Queensland Rugby Union / Reds|
|Sydney||New South Wales Rugby Union / Waratahs|
|Western Force||RugbyWA / 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.
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.
|National Rugby Championship|
|2014||37 – 26||Ballymore Stadium||7,889|
|2015||21 – 10||Ballymore Stadium||4,327|
|2016||20 – 16||Scully Park||2,000|
|2017||42 – 28||Viking Park||4,000|
|2018||36 – 26||Churchill Park||6,000|
|2019||41 – 3||UWA Rugby Park||6,500|
|Team||Winners||Runners-up||Years won||Years runner-up|
|0||3||–||2015, 2017, 2019|
|Season||Minor Premier||Wooden Spoon|
|National Rugby Championship|
|Team||Minor Premiers||Wooden Spoon||Years Minor Premier||Years Wooden Spoon|
An Emerging States Championship was formed in 2018 for representative teams from smaller rugby unions within Australia.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. The tournament was rebranded as NRC Division 2 for 2019, with eight representative teams invited:
Super Rugby is a professional men's rugby union international club competition involving teams from Argentina, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Africa. Building on various Southern Hemisphere competitions dating back to the South Pacific Championship in 1986, with teams from a number of southern nations, the Super Rugby started as the Super 12 in the 1996 season with 12 teams from 3 nations: Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. The Super 12 was established by SANZAAR after the sport became professional in 1995. With the top players from nations that represent 16 of the 24 top-three finishes in the history of the Rugby World Cup, the competition is widely regarded as rugby union's toughest provincial competition.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 concludes on 26 October. The match of the round is broadcast live each week on Fox Sports and Kayo Sports, with all matches streamed on rugby.com.au live. The championship features eight professional teams, seven from Australia and one from Fiji.