Rugby Union


New national rugby comp forces overhaul of Canberra comp

Canberra club rugby officials met on Wednesday to discuss the future of the capital in the new National Rugby Championships and how it will affect their futures.

The Australian Rugby Union announced on Tuesday a domestic competition would begin in 2014 with teams from Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney, Perth and Melbourne.

The new competition will force the ACT Rugby Union to overhaul its premier division season. Instead of finishing in September, the John I Dent Cup season has been cut to just 12 games, with the grand final on August 9.

In previous years, the John I Dent Cup season featured 18 games with every team playing each other three times. The NRC is expected to start on August 23.

Details for the Canberra team will be finalised in the coming weeks with submissions to the ARU closing on January 13.

Teams could cost up to $300,000-$400,000 to run.


''All the details have to be worked through,'' outgoing ACT Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan said.

''You'd want the team closely aligned to the Super Rugby high-performance unit to take advantage of that.

''There are variety of models, we just have to make sure we've got a model in Canberra that works economically but equally provides the best talent development outcome.''

The Australian Rugby Championship lasted just one season in 2007 before the ARU scrapped it because it lost $5 million.

The Canberra Vikings played in the ARC and hosted home games at Manuka Oval.

''The financial model is different this time,'' Fagan said.

''It will still require some investing, but the players union understands how critical this is in the development of the game and understand this can't be weighed down by heavy player payments.''