ARU Announces Buildcorp As Naming Rights Partner For New Domestic Competition
The Australian Rugby Union announced Buildcorp as the official naming rights partner of Australian Rugby’s new domestic competition, the National Rugby Championship. Starting on Aug. 21, the 11-week competition will see almost 300 Rugby players, including current and former Qantas Wallabies, Super Rugby players and the best young talent in Club Rugby, take part in the nine-team national competition. The announcement of Buildcorp as the NRC's naming-rights partner coincides with the release of the complete competition draw (ARU). The draw for the inaugural NRC has been unveiled with Brisbane City and Sydney Stars set to open the competition on Aug. 21. Fox Sports will broadcast a live game each week with the first five feature matches to form part of a Thursday night rugby "feast" along with New Zealand’s ITM Cup -- the first of which sees North Harbour face Southland -- and Rugby HQ. In other first round matches, Melbourne Rising host North Harbour Rays, Canberra Vikings face Perth Spirit in the nation’s capital while NSW Country Eagles will play their only Sydney home game at Coogee Oval against Greater Sydney Rams (Fox Sports). The AAP reported the ARU "is invading enemy territory," with 18 matches in the new NRC to be played at the "spiritual homes" of National Rugby League clubs. The NRC draw was released with Leichhardt Oval, Brookvale Oval, Pirtek Stadium and AAMI Park -- the respective homes of the NRL’s Wests Tigers, Manly, Parramatta and Melbourne -- "all to host multiple fixtures." ARU CEO Bill Pulver is hopeful of building a “tribal” following among rugby fans with a competition he believes will rival New Zealand’s ITM Cup and South Africa’s Currie Cup in popularity (AAP, 7/16).