National Rugby Competition to kick off in Australia

Saturday, June 3, 2006 Following a three-day summit in Sydney rugby union officials reached a decision to start a National Rugby Competition in Australia in July 2007. The aim of the competition will be to bridge the gap between Super 14 and club rugby. The competition will most likely be similar to similar to New Zealand's National Provincial Championship and South Africa's Currie Cup.

It was revealed that the eight-team competition will involve three teams from New South Wales, two from Queensland and one each from the ACT, Western Australia and Victoria. The QRU later revealed that one of the Queensland sides will most likely be playing out of Queensland Rugby's old home Ballymore Stadium, with the other team going to either the Gold Coast or Northern Queensland.

Some Sydney clubs, in particular, Randwick and Sydney University Football Club were opposed to the competition, and want stand-alone status in the competition rather than being part of a cumulative Sydney team, also believing that the competition will see them lose funding. Businessman John Singleton came out and showed his interest in having one of the NSW sides playing at Central Coast Stadium.

Super 14 players will be playing, but as there will be twice as many clubs as the Super 14, so there will be a lot of available spaces for club footballers. There is no plan for an immediate draft. Although Super 14 players will be playing, around 30 players will be unavailable due to Wallaby duties. The ABC has apparently expressed interest in broadcasting the games next year.