Aussies excited about provincial comp
The ARU received 41 Expressions of Interest from across the country for this year's National Rugby Championship.
The Australian Rugby Union revealed it received 41 Expressions of Interest from across the country for this year's National Rugby Championship (NRC) - which will kick off in August.
The NRC has been established to enhance the pathway to develop elite players, coaches and match officials.
The 41 Expressions of Interest have been received from a range of individuals, businesses, existing clubs and syndicates wanting to be included in the inaugural season of the competition.
Representatives from all states and the Australian Capital Territory have expressed an interest in taking part, including interest from groups from country New South Wales and country Queensland.
ARU Chief Executive Officer Bill Pulver said the response shows there is real interest in a competition of this nature.
"This will be a truly national competition, and it's great to see we have more than 40 groups, clubs or individuals who could form syndicates with other organisations, partners and universities to compete," Pulver said.
"A formal tendering process has now begun and we will be in a position to announce the successful teams to contest the National Rugby Championship in early March."
The National Rugby Championship Commission, which has been set up to establish the competition, will assess the tenders and will select the appropriate teams.
The Commission is chaired by independent sports consultant John Boultbee and includes representatives from Australian Rugby Union, the Rugby Union Players' Association and Super Rugby.
Selection will be based on a number of criteria including: financial performance; professional team staffing structure and environment; commitment to player development; venue facilities; links to Super Rugby clubs; and current or potential fan base.
The competition is expected to include eight to 10 teams from major population centres across the country, with teams from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, ACT and Western Australia expected to be represented.
The National Rugby Championship will run annually at the end of Super Rugby and club Rugby seasons from August to October as a way of complementing existing competitions such as the important Premier Rugby competitions in Sydney and Queensland.