The ARU have released their draw for the 2017 National Rugby Championship and, as is seemingly traditional, there is plenty to take from it.
Firstly there are nine teams involved including both the Melbourne Rising and the Perth Spirit, who are affiliated to their respective Super Rugby teams (Rebels and Force) both of whom are fighting for survival in next year’s Super Rugby competition.
Fiji is the much heralded new team in the comp and become the first international team in the tournament, through the assistance of World Rugby. The Fijians will travel for two games, then host for two games, on an alternate schedule. Their home games will be split between Churchill Park, Lautoka, ANZ Stadium, Suva and Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka. Fiji play Brisbane City at Ballymore to kick off their tournament on the 2nd of September.
The season starts on the weekend of 2 September, a week after the Shute Shield Grand Final.
Reigning champions, the Perth Spirit, open their campaign with a clash of the above mentioned teams, as the Rising travel to Perth to start their season.
The NRC in 2017 will feature even more grassroots rugby connection as sides from across the country take their games to club rugby venues.
In Round 3, Brisbane City will take on the Canberra Vikings at the UQ Rugby Club on the same weekend that UQ host the third round of the AON National Women’s 7s Series. In Round 7 they host the Rising at the newly renovated Wests Rugby Union Club in Toowong.
The Andy Purcell Cup (between Brisbane City and Queensland Country) will be played for in Round 2 at the Noosa Dolphins Rugby Union Club. QLD Country will play a couple of games at their traditional ‘home game’ at Bond University, with the Round 5 clash with the Rising, being held in conjunction with Round 4 of the Women’s 7s series. Queensland Country will then take their final match of the regular season to Ipswich where they will host the Spirit at QLD Group Stadium.
The Greater Sydney Rams are now basing themselves at TG Milner Oval and the Sydney Rays will play out of Pittwater Park, except for their Round 2 clash with the Rams which will be played at Macquarie Uni. Once again, this will link into the Women’s 7s Series which will be played at the same venue that weekend.
Last year’s Grand Finalists, the NSW Country Eagles, will travel across the state with games in Armidale (Rnd 4 v the Vikings); Goulburn (Rnd 5 v the Rays which will be played on the Labour Day Monday); Tamworth (Rnd 7 v the Spirit) and Orange (Rnd 9 v Brisbane).
FOX SPORTS will broadcast two games each round on television (Saturday and Sunday at 3pm AEST) with the two remaining games available to stream LIVE via foxsports.com.au and the FOX SPORTS App. Fans will be able to watch every NRC match LIVE and ad-break free during play for the second season in succession.
2017 NRC fixture
(all times local)
Saturday September 2
Canberra Vikings vs QLD Country – Viking Park, Canberra – 1.00pm
Brisbane City vs Fiji – Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane – 3.00pm
Sunday September 3
Greater Sydney Rams vs NSW Country Eagles – TG Millner Oval, Sydney – 3.00pm
Perth Spirit vs Melbourne Rising McGillivray Oval, Perth – 3.00pm
Bye – Sydney Rays
Saturday September 9
QLD Country vs Brisbane City – Noosa Dolphins RU Club, Noosa – 1.00pm
Melbourne Rising v Fiji Harlequin Oval, Melbourne – 3:00pm
Sunday September 10
Canberra Vikings vs Perth Spirit Viking Park, Canberra – 1.00pm
Sydney Rays vs Greater Sydney Rams – Macquarie Uni, Sydney 3.00pm
Bye – NSW Country Eagles
Saturday September 16
Sydney Rays vs Melbourne Rising – Pittwater Rugby Park, Sydney – 1.00pm
Fiji vs NSW Country Eagles – Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka – 5.00pm
Sunday September 17
Brisbane City vs Canberra Vikings – UQ Rugby Club, Brisbane 1.00pm
Perth Spirit vs Greater Sydney Rams – McGillivray Oval, Perth – 1.00pm
Bye – QLD Country
Saturday September 23
NSW Country Eagles vs Canberra Vikings – Bellevue Oval, Armidale – 1.00pm
Fiji vs Perth Spirit- ANZ Stadium, Suva – 5.00pm
Sunday September 24
Sydney Rays vs QLD Country- Pittwater Rugby Park, Sydney – 1.00pm
Melbourne Rising vs Greater Sydney Rams – Harlequin Oval, Melbourne – 3.00pm
BYE – Brisbane City
Friday September 29
Canberra Vikings vs Fiji – Viking Park, Canberra – 7.30pm
Saturday September 30
QLD Country vs Melbourne Rising – Bond University, Gold Coast – 3.00pm
Sunday October 1
Perth Spirit vs Brisbane City – McGillivray Oval, Perth – 2.00pm
Monday October 2
NSW Country Eagles vs Sydney Rays – Simon Poidevin Oval, Goulburn – 3.00pm
Bye – Greater Sydney Rams
ROUND 6 – PACIFIKA ROUND
Saturday October 7
QLD Country vs NSW Country Eagles – Bond University, Gold Coast- 12.00pm
Greater Sydney Rams vs Fiji – TG Millner Oval, Sydney- 3.00pm
Sunday October 8
Melbourne Rising vs Canberra Vikings – Frankston Park, Frankston – 1.00pm
Sydney Rays vs Brisbane City – Pittwater Rugby Park, Sydney – 3.00pm
Bye – Perth Spirit
Saturday October 14
Greater Sydney Rams vs QLD Country – TG Millner Oval, Sydney – 1.00pm
NSW Country Eagles vs Perth Spirit- Scully Park, Tamworth – 3.00pm
Sunday October 15
Brisbane City vs Melbourne Rising – Wests Bulldogs RU Club, Brisbane – 12.00pm
Canberra Vikings vs Sydney Rays Viking Park, Canberra – 3.00pm
Bye – Fiji
Saturday October 21
Brisbane City vs Greater Sydney Rams – Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane – 2.00pm
Fiji vs QLD Country – Churchill Park, Lautoka – 7.00pm
Perth Spirit vs Sydney Rays – McGillivray Oval, Perth – 2.00pm
Sunday October 22
Melbourne Rising vs NSW Country Eagles – Harlequin Oval, Melbourne – 1.00pm
Bye – Canberra Vikings
Saturday October 28
NSW Country Eagles vs Brisbane City – Wade Park, Orange – 1.00pm
Fiji vs Sydney Rays – ANZ Stadium, Suva – 4.00pm
Sunday October 29
QLD Country vs Perth Spirit- Qld Group Stadium, Ipswich – 12.00pm
Greater Sydney Rams vs Canberra Vikings – TG Millner Oval, Sydney – 3.00pm
Bye – Melbourne Rising
Saturday November 4
1st Place vs 4th Place – 1st-place Venue – 3.00pm
Sunday November 5
2nd Place vs 3rd Place – 2nd-place Venue – 3.00pm
Saturday November 11
Winner Semi-Final 1 vs Winner Semi-final 2 – Venue TBC – 7:30pm