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Australia launches new domestic competition

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rugby.com.au     17 Jul 2014     Getty Images

Starting on Thursday 21 August, the 11-week competition will see almost 300 Rugby players, including current and former Wallabies, Super Rugby players and the best young talent in Club Rugby, take part in the nine-team national competition.

The announcement of Buildcorp as the NRC’s Naming Rights Partner coincides with the release of the complete competition draw, which will see Brisbane City host the Sydney Stars in a first-round blockbuster at Ballymore in Brisbane.

Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver said he was thrilled to partner with a company which already has strong existing links to Australian Rugby.

“With the competition kick-off just five weeks away, we are excited to announce this new partnership with Buildcorp – a company that has been supporting Rugby in Australia for more than 20 years.”

“The inaugural year of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship promises to deliver a terrific spectacle for fans and players after the Super Rugby and Club Rugby seasons have finished.

“Rugby fans will now have the opportunity to watch even more quality Rugby in the second half of the year, including some of Australia’s most exciting emerging talent.”

In another boost for the new competition, ASICS has extended its involvement with Australian Rugby and will be supplying all match day and training apparel for NRC teams, while GILBERT will supply all match day and training balls.

The competition is being sponsored by FOX SPORTS and Foxtel, with FOX SPORTS set to broadcast one live NRC match each week. This will form part of a bumper Thursday night Rugby line-up, starting with live coverage of the New Zealand ITM Cup at 5.30pm (AEST), a live NRC match from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, leading into FOX SPORTS Rugby HQ.

FOX SPORTS CEO Patrick Delany said FOX SPORTS was proud to showcase some of the best young Rugby talent in the country and support this crucial new national competition.

“Thursday is Rugby night, where Rugby fans can settle in to watch the next breed of All Blacks in the ITM Cup, the next wave of Wallabies in the Buildcorp NRC, and the best Rugby show in the business with the likes of George Gregan and John Eales on Rugby HQ,” Mr Delany said.

The first five broadcast matches have been confirmed by FOX SPORTS, and will include coverage of all NRC teams across the five weeks. The remaining broadcast matches will be scheduled in the coming weeks and months to identify prime matches.

Round One of the Buildcorp NRC will kick off at 7.30pm on Thursday 21 August when Brisbane City host the Sydney Stars in Brisbane.

The first round will also see Melbourne Rising take on Macquarie University North Harbour Rays at AAMI Park in Melbourne; Perth Spirit up against the University of Canberra Vikings at Viking Park, Canberra; and the NSW Country Eagles hosting the Greater Sydney Rams at Coogee Oval.

As part of a deliberate strategy to re-engage with passionate Rugby supporters in regional Australia, the teams representing Queensland Country and NSW Country will play the majority of their home matches at a variety of regional centres.

NSW Country Eagles will play in Dubbo, Orange and Lismore, while Queensland Country will play home games on the Gold Coast, in Townsville and Brisbane.

Other draw highlights include curtain-raisers to Qantas Wallabies Tests on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. Queensland Country will host the Macquarie University North Harbour Rays on Saturday 13 September on the Gold Coast (Round Four) ahead of the Test between Australia and Argentina; and Brisbane City will host University of Canberra Vikings at Suncorp Stadium prior to the final Bledisloe Cup Test on Saturday 18 October (Round Nine).

South Australian Rugby fans will also get a taste of NRC action, with a round-three match between Perth Spirit and Greater Sydney Rams to be played at Adelaide Airport Stadium on Saturday 6 September.

“Consistent with our commitment to engage our fans and enhance the ‘Rugby experience’, every NRC round will feature a number of family-friendly afternoon games on the weekend,” Mr Pulver said.

“With the draw now confirmed, players and supporters can start preparing for this terrific new competition. I encourage all Australian Rugby fans to pick a team and get behind this historic first season of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship.”