National club comp a possibility as Rugby AU unveil broadcast package

Photo: AJF Photography

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A national club competition between the leading lights of clubland around Australia has been touted as part of an exciting rights package proposal revealed by Rugby AU today, as they look to establish a new agreement with prospective broadcasters.

The current deal runs out on December 31st this year, and Rugby AU have put together a comprehensive package that could see the likes of Sydney University, Warringah and Eastwood from the Shute Shield, taking on University of Queensland, Brothers and GPS from the Brisbane comp, as well as the top sides in Canberra, Melbourne and Perth respectively, in a short-form competition to take place at the end of each domestic season.

A ‘State of Union’ series, rugby’s version of State of Origin, has also been mooted. Along the lines of its league contemporary, it would see players representing their state of birth or the state where they played their first club rugby. And there is also the prospect of a return to international Super Rugby, either through a trans-Tasman competition with five teams from Australia and New Zealand facing off, or through a Super Eight tournament, which would see the top two sides from the Australian, New Zealand and South African domestic Super competitions taking on one team each from both Japan and South America for overall bragging rights.

Coverage of both the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions, as well as the Wallaroos and schoolboy rugby, is also on the table to enhance the traditional offerings provided by the Wallabies through the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup.

“We will do whatever is in the best interests of Australian rugby and we’ve been working hard on a variety of competition models, not just for Super Rugby but for every level of the game,” explained Interim Rugby Australia Chief Executive Rob Clarke.

“When you look at it that way, there is a package of rights from grassroots right to the top of the International game and it’s a really high quality offering for any prospective broadcaster, and one that we’re extremely excited about.”

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WHAT’S ON THE TABLE?

The Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup for the Australian Men’s national team, the Wallabies

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International Tests for the Australian Women’s national team, the Wallaroos

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A ‘State of Union’ competition between New South Wales and Queensland, with players to play for their state of birth or where they played their Club rugby

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An Australian domestic Super Rugby competition including five Australian teams, or, a trans-Tasman Super Rugby competition that includes five Australian teams.

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A four-week Super Eight competition, to be played at the conclusion of the respective domestic Super Rugby competitions, and be a cross-over Championship between the top two teams from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as well as one team from Japan and South America

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A short form National Club Championship between the top Premier Club teams in Australia following the completion of the respective Club competitions

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New South Wales’ Shute Shield competition as well as Queensland’s Premier Club Rugby competition

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A showcase of the best schoolboy Rugby in Australia

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Prospective broadcasters have been informed to return submissions by Friday 4th September.

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