Former Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver To Recommend New Third-Tier Competition
The Rugby Union Players Association has "pledged not to oppose the proposed National Rugby Championship in August," according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. Australian Rugby Union CEO Bill Pulver will on Friday put a "formal recommendation to his board over which teams should be part of the long-awaited, so-called third-tier competition intended to provide a stepping stone between club rugby and Super Rugby." Even at this "late stage, with the ARU expected to formally announce the new competition early next week," it still has not been determined whether the NRC will involve eight teams or 10. Most "impressive of all, apparently, is the combined bid put together" by Gordon, Norths, Warringah and Manly to form the North Harbour Rays. The Rays have "already" attracted A$200,000 ($180,960) in sponsorship from Macquarie University -- A$150,000 in cash -- and the remainder "in kind, and will play out of either Brookvale Oval or North Sydney Oval" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/20). In Sydney, Georgina Robinson reported former ARU CEO Gary Flowers is "stepping back into the rugby fray" as chairman of the North Harbour Rays to join the NRC. Flowers, who "created the defunct Australian Rugby Championship" in '07, will chair a board "to oversee one of the NRC's most impressive and unlikely alliances" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/19).