This is a move that in my opinion, will be regarded as the most important move by the ARU since they secured the hosting rights for 2003 World Cup.
Whilst we donít have all the information regarding how the competition will be run, hopefully this article can paint a picture of how the competition will work and how it benefits the Waratahs.What is the National Rugby Championship?
The National Rugby Championship will be a nationwide rugby competition that starts in 2014, it is a tier directly below Super 15 rugby.†
There will be 8 Ė 10 teams competing from cities such as Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra and Perth.It is the Australian equivalent of South Africaís Currie Cup or New Zealandís ITM Cup, both which have proved to be phenomenal training grounds for up and coming Super Rugby players.
How is it going to work?
Most of the fine details are still unknown with regards to teams and scheduling but so far we know:
1. The competition is being funded by Foxtel who have exclusive broadcast rights
2. All contracted Super Rugby players will be required to compete when not on club duty
3. The rest of the rosters will be made up of top tier, first grade talent. What this guarantees is talent. It will allow for younger players who are entering the professional ranks to play with and test themselves against Super Rugby level players.
Not only will this help improve skills but it will also provide a platform for talent identification.This will benefit the all Australian Super 15 clubs and it is expected that the Waratahís will align themselves closely with one, if not all the NSW based clubs.
Why it will be successful?
This might seem simplistic, but the competition will be successful, because the Wallabies need it to be. †A lack of such a competition has hindered Australia for years while our rivals have benefited from similar leagues.
The ARU cannot afford for this competition to fail.The fact that the ARU do not have to fund the competition themselves will also be a major factor in the competitionís success. Unlike the Australian Rugby Championship which folded after just one season (due to crippling costs), this league will cost the ARU a fraction of the expenditure. Also, Foxtel will do everything in their power to promote the league as they have a vested interest in its success.
The key to the National Rugby Championship being a success is quite simple, itís you. This competition can only have positive impacts for the Waratahs and Australian Rugby. So get behind it!