The CEO of Australian Rugby Union, Bill Pulver, has announced the upcoming new National Rugby Championship. The event is slated to start in August and will be played over 11 weeks.
The tournament will feature 9 teams.
Four teams from New South Wales, North Harbour Rays, Greater Sydney Rams, Sydney Stars and NSW Country will be joined by teams of Queensland - Brisbane City and Qld Country. Besides the four teams, the other three teams are Canberra University Kings, Melbourne Rising and Perth Spirit.
Each team will play 8 matches and have one bye. The top four contenders will make it to the finals.
In an interview at Fox Sports News with rugby correspondent Gerard Middleton, Pulver said, "We're absolutely delighted with the development."
"Last Friday we got the approval from the Australian Rugby Union board and we've also got the support of the Rugby Union Players Association so the National Rugby Championship is go."
"We've got a Sydney Stars team which is going to be made up of Sydney University and Balmain. We have a North Harbour Rays team which is going to be a combination of four clubs around the north region, a Greater Sydney team which will be Souths, Wests, Parramatta, Penrith and Eastwood."
"And in a wonderful development for rugby a NSW Country team ... both Easts and Randwick will have an association with the NSW Country team who will actually be based out of Moore Park."
"We've got two in Queensland, we're going to have a Brisbane City team and a Queensland country team.""And then we'll have a Perth Spirit team, a Melbourne Rising team and a University of Canberra Vikings team - so nine teams in all."
Earlier, before the announcement, there had been a strong speculation about the financials involved in this tournament. But Pulver clarified it.
He said, "When you review some of the financial challenges we have in Australian rugby, the number one opportunity for a positive impact is broadcasting rights"
"It's a very important issue and we have an obligation to try and create quality broadcasting content."