The schedule for the third season of the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC) has been announced. The draw has been promoted, along with a number of Law variations that will be trialed throughout the competition that could make an impact on World Rugby.
Eight teams form the Australian NRC competition, based throughout all states and will all ‘battle it out’ for glory in 14 locations–including a number of regional areas, to help spread the game to non-traditional areas.
Tries the focal point
Running rugby will take centre stage in the 2016 Australian NRC, as tries will now be worth six points this season. A reduction on the emphasis on goal kicking, is due to the fact a ‘kicked goal’ is now worth only two points. A massive change from seasons past, where tries were only worth five points. Conversions now worth three points and penalties just two. That will see an emphasis on crossing your opponents goal line.
In a clear bid to boost the popularity of the sport and increase the excitement levels. These changes will look to improve upon last season’s statistics of ‘an average of 9.2 tries per match’. A healthy statistic that shows just how free scoring XV’s can truly be.
Australian NRC on Fox Sports
In a further development, the Australian NRC will now have two matches a weekend broadcast live on Fox Sports. The remaining two fixtures will then be streamed-live in an attempt to boost the number of viewers of rugby union.
A change in fixture scheduling too, from Thursday matches has allowed Fox to be able to show matches ‘live’ on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm. The first game to be screened live will be the opening round fixture between NSW Country Eagles and Brisbane City, on Saturday 27th August.
The NRC is looking to develop not only the sport, but to nourish players, but to create a pathway. That is from club rugby/representative level through to Super Rugby, and ultimately the Wallabies.
One success story is that of Samu Kerevi, who in recent years has excelled with the two-time reigning champions Brisbane City. In turn he has undoubtedly flourished at both levels; with the Reds and in Wallaby Gold. He deservedly took his place in the Wallabies to face England which is evidence of the clear pathway. If the NRC can continue to replicate its successes, then Australian rugby will have a strong core upon which to grow with.
The Need for Competition
As a breeding ground for talent, the NRC needs to be competitive throughout. Brisbane City have dominated so far, and are currently in the midst of an eighteen-game winning streak. A restructuring of the New South Wales sides means that they have only three representatives this year. ARU General Manager of High Performance, Ben Whittaker stated that;
“We’re confident that with the confirmation of eight teams, and the learning off the back of the first two seasons the overall quality of the National Rugby Championship product will improve in 2016 as the competition will be stronger and more competitive.”
This statement highlights the need for the NRC to be more competitive in order to engage even greater with the Australian sporting public.
Alongside other Tournaments around the world the trial of the six point try in the NRC will come under scrutiny. Its future in the sport will be dictated by the experiences here in Australia and in the Heartland Championship in New Zealand.
Statistics and quotes sourced from Australian Rugby Union Media Release.