The 2016 National Rugby Championship (NRC) season kicks off in just eight weeks time and the competition is set to be more intense than ever. With the Sydney Stars no more and last year’s North Harbour Rays now the Sydney Rays, the eight team competition will now be run over a jam-packed, action-filled seven weeks prior to the finals.
Buildcorp continue their support of the competition as naming rights partner and the clubs certainly seem to be ahead of the curve this season. We are particularly excited to hear whispers that NSW Rugby will be lending a lot more support behind the NRC in 2016.
Reigning champions Brisbane City will have it all ahead of them as a number of their core players (Nick Frisby, Samu Kerevi and potentially Karmichael Hunt) may well be wearing the gold of Australia rather the gold of Brisbane this season. Brisbane will travel to Sydney University Oval to take on the much fancied NSW Country Eagles in the opening round.
The Eagles themselves, unlucky not to make the finals in 2015, once again take their show on the road with home games at the Magpie Rugby Club in Tamworth (Round 3) and Endeavour Oval in Orange (Round 5). NSW Country will also travel to Toowoomba in Round 6 to take on Queensland Country at Clive Berghofer Stadium in Toowoomba.
The Queensland Country lads will play their other two home games at Bond University on the Gold Coast including their first round clash with 2015 runners-up, the Canberra Vikings. The Vikings will have one eye on their Round 3 clash with Brisbane City which will be played at their home ground, Viking Park.
Perth Spirit will face-off with the Melbourne Rising in their first round at UWA Sports Park in Perth, where Perth will play all of their home games. Likewise the Rising will base themselves at Harlequins Oval for the duration of their Buildcorp NRC season, other than a final round match up against the Sydney Rays at Frankston Oval in Frankston.
The newish-boys, the Rays, will split their games between North Sydney Oval and Pittwater Park. With the Western Sydney Rams playing their games out of Concord Oval the tournament organisers have been able to come up with a draw in which there is a Sydney game every weekend as well as one in South-East Queensland every round, bar the fourth.
The other exciting initiative is that each game, except a Round 2 Friday night match at North Sydney Oval, will be played at 1pm (East Coast Elitist Time) and 3pm (ECET) on Saturday and Sundays, ensuring the competition remains a great opportunity to engage with families in showcasing some of the most exciting rugby being played at the moment.
Whilst there will be no free-to-air coverage of the games, FOX SPORTS will broadcast two games each weekend on television (Saturday and Sunday at 3pm) with the two remaining games (Saturday and Sunday at1pm) available to stream LIVE via foxsports.com.au and FOX SPORTS Now via Apple TV and Telstra TV. Now fans will be able to watch every single game from the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship for the second season in succession.
Once again Green and Gold Rugby will be looking to cover the NRC in great depth and we will need your support. If you are interesting in writing articles, covering games and/or taking match photos for us we want your help (particularly in the regional areas). Please get in contact with us here or via our Forum, Facebook or Twitter and we will work with the ARU to secure the appropriate media accreditation for the games in question.
See below for the full draw: