National Rugby Championship
|National Rugby Championship (NRC)|
Current season or competition:|
2016 National Rugby Championship
|Number of teams||8|
|Champions||Perth Spirit (2016)|
|Most titles||Brisbane City (2 titles)|
|Broadcast partner||Fox Sports|
The National Rugby Championship, known as the NRC, is Australia's national professional rugby union football competition. The NRC is administered by the Australian Rugby Union (ARU), and is contested by nine teams from around Australia. The NRC is the highest tier of competition below the transnational Super Rugby tournament, which also involves New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina and Japan. The National Rugby Championship is the most important club competition for players in Australia following the Super Rugby season.
The National Rugby Championship spans eleven weeks from late August, after the completion of the premier club rugby competitions in each state, to early November. A round-robin tournament is played over nine rounds where each team plays each other once. Each team has four home matches and four away matches with one bye. This is followed by the finals rounds consisting of two semi-final matches, contested by the top four teams, and a grand final match to determine the season's champion team.
During the round-robin section of the tournament, teams can also play for the Horan-Little Shield, a challenge trophy that is played for when a challenge is accepted or offered by the holders.
Buildcorp has the naming rights for the NRC competition. Other partners include Intercontinental Hotels, Qantas, and Allianz, with the Allianz group logo appearing on referees' jerseys through to end of 2016. ASICS are the official apparel supplier and Gilbert is the official supplier of all rugby balls.
Live TV coverage and streaming
Two of the NRC matches each weekend are broadcast live via Fox Sports. Discussion of the NRC competition is included on Fox Sports' Monday night review show NRC Extra Time on Fox Sports HD 2, and the Rugby 360 program on Wednesday 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 ITM Cup. Eleven bids were tendered from teams wanting to participate in the tournament, with nine being accepted. Applicants that were not successfult were advised that they could bid again as the competition matured, as early as 2015.
The National Rugby Championship follows a previous national competition, the Australian Rugby Championship, that was abandoned after the first season in 2007 due to financial losses.
|Team||Licencees and associated clubs|
|Brisbane City||QRU / Reds|
|Canberra Vikings||ACT&SNSWRU / Brumbies, University of Canberra, Tuggeranong Vikings|
|Country Eagles||NSW Country, Sydney University,a Easts, Randwick|
|Melbourne Rising||VRU / Rebels|
|Perth Spirit||WA / Force|
|Queensland Country||QRU / Reds|
|Sydney Rays b||Gordon, Manly, Norths, Warringah|
|Western Sydney Rams c||Parramatta, Penrith, Southern Districts,b West Harbour|
|Sydney Stars (2014–15)||Balmain, Sydney University|
|Fiji Warriors (2017)||Fiji Rugby Union|
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.
|Brisbane City||2 (2014, 2015)||0||0|
|Perth Spirit||1 (2016)||1 (2014)||0|
|Country Eagles||0||1 (2016)||1 (2014)|
|Canberra Vikings||0||1 (2015)||0|
|Melbourne Rising||0||0||3 (2014, 2015, 2016)|
|Sydney Rays||0||0||1 (2016)|
|Sydney Stars||0||0||1 (2015)|
Wins by State/Territory
|New South Wales||0||1||3|
|Australian Capital Territory||0||1||0|
Champions by year
|Year||# of Teams||Final||Losing semi-finalists|
|Winner||Score||Runner-up||1st semi-final||2nd semi-final|
|2014||9||Brisbane City||37–26||Perth Spirit||Melbourne Rising||NSW Country Eagles|
|2015||9||Brisbane City||21–10||Canberra Vikings||Melbourne Rising||Sydney Stars|
|2016||8||Perth Spirit||20–16||NSW Country Eagles||Melbourne Rising||Sydney Rays|
- Australian Rugby Championship (predecessor competition)
- Australian Rugby Shield (defunct)
- National Women's Rugby Championship
- Super Rugby
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- "Fixtures draw". Australian Rugby. 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- McKay, Brett (13 Aug 2015). "Law variations to continue in NRC Season 2". The Roar. Archived from the original on 13 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
- 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.
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- "NRC update part 1: Queensland, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra". The Roar. 8 July 2014. Archived from the original on 3 July 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2014.
- Payten, Iain (4 March 2015). "New broadcasting deal ensures future of National Rugby Championship until at least 2020". The Courier Mail. News. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- "Bill Pulver releases details on the new National Rugby Championship, which kicks off in August". foxsports.com.au. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
- "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.
- "Questions and answers – 2016". Rams Rugby. 16 July 2016. Archived from the original on 17 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
- "NRC update part 2: NSW Country and the Sydney teams". The Roar. 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
- "Eastwood quit Greater Sydney Rams partnership". ESPN Scrum. 2 July 2014. Archived from the original on 16 July 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- buildcorpnrc.com official website
- Buildcorp National Rugby Championship on facebook.com
- BuildcorpNRC on twitter.com
- NRC on Fox Sports