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Mortlock hails new Aussie NRC

Wed, 11 Dec 2013 09:47
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We've been crying out for this for a long, long time and you'd argue that it's been too long
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Former Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock says the new National Rugby Championship is something Australian rugby has needed 'for a long, long time'.

Plans for a national provincial competition were unveiled by Australian rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver on Tuesday, and Mortlock said that it is about time Australia established something equivalent to the NPC in New Zealand and the Currie Cup in South Africa.

He told AAP: "Without a doubt we've been crying out for this for a long, long time and you'd argue that it's been too long.

"New Zealand have got the NPC, South Africa have got the Currie Cup. We don't have any equivalent.

"This will give us that tier competition that we've been after and it will be a great opportunity to get a bridge between club and provincial rugby, which is what we so desperately need," he added.

This will not be the first attempt at a provincial competition in Australia, with various tournaments cropping up over the years and none of them lasting very long.

The latest effort was the ill-fated Australian Rugby Championship in 2007, bu Pulver is confident that things will be different this time around as a broadcasting and sponsorship deal will relieve the ARU of any financial burden.

Although the mechanics of the competition have yet to be finalised, the revamped national competition will run from August until November and feature eight to 10 teams.

All Super Rugby players not involved with the Wallabies will be required to play.

Mortlock said that there should be a concerted effort from all quarters to ensure that the new competition is successful.

"It's so important for us to have and the political powers that be need to understand how important it is for Australian rugby to grow and to put agendas aside to make this work."

"The how is still to be nutted out and the devil is always in the detail. But it's nice that it looks as though it's going to be funded and it's going to be on TV as well.

"So there's a lot of positive foundations, but there's still a lot of things that need to be agreed to and I'm not privy to those at this stage.

"But first and foremost, I think it's a fantastic result for Australian rugby in general," he said.
 

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