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Robberds wants mixed-club side to nurture talent

Wests first grade coach Craig Robberds.

Wests first grade coach Craig Robberds. Photo: Stuart Walmsley

ACT representative coach Craig Robberds has backed Simon Poidevin's push to create a third-tier competition to give Canberra players another pathway to the top.

But the Wests great warned only adding the best John I Dent Cup team would ruin the capital's premier division.

Retired Wallaby Poidevin has started a push for a Heineken Cup-style club competition to bridge the gap between professional and amateur rugby.

It would involve the best teams from Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane.

But if the move is to be successful in Canberra, Robberds said it must be an ACT representative side playing - similar to the Canberra Vikings - instead of promoting one club. The ARU started the Australian Rugby Championship in 2007, but it ran for just one year and lost $5 million.

''It can't be one [Canberra] club because then all of the players would move to that one team,'' Robberds said.

''It's a good idea, it gives the perfect opportunity for local players to be seen.

''It tests you against the so-called better players from Sydney and Brisbane … with the academy program it gives guys a team to aim for instead of just training to improve their skills.''

Brumbies coach Jake White has made a concerted effort to boost the standard of the Canberra competition by assigning his players to local clubs instead of letting them return to Sydney and Brisbane. White has also started an academy for the best players in the John I Dent Cup who train together as well as with their respective clubs.

The ACT XV will play a trial match against the Brumbies on Friday and have games against Samoa, Tonga and possibly NSW Country and the Australian Barbarians.

The Heineken Cup is one of the top club competitions for teams around Europe.

They play pool matches and then advance to finals.

Promoting the top teams in Sydney and Brisbane would work, but by only promoting one already established club from Canberra the competition's talent could be unfairly distributed. Robberds said the best option for Canberra to be included was a representative side in a shortened competition.

''If it's the best club it just becomes a money thing [in Canberra] and that doesn't serve any purpose,'' Robberds said.

''If you want the next tier you've got to do it right and for Canberra it has to be a representative side [from] the best teams.

''Jake is doing great things for the competition now and guys are getting chances to train with the Brumbies, so the pathway is starting, but you need to present guys with opportunities.''

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
WAL vs NZL 04:30MilS
ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
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