A new competition involving nine new domestic rugby union teams called the National Rugby Championship will kick off in August, according to a press release by the Australian Rugby Union or the ARU as they target further development for Australia Rugby in the next few years.
The competition is set to feature four teams from New South Wales, two from Queensland and one team each from the three regions of Victoria, ACT and Western Australia.
These teams will also be representing the New South Wales Country as well as Queensland Country.
In a format similar to the Aviva Premiership, each of the nine teams will play against the other eight teams in matches spread over nine weeks, which will also include a bye. The four teams that top the points table after the nine weeks will play and end of season play-off to determine the winners of the competition.
All players of the Super Rugby will be eligible to play in the National Rugby Championship while each team will also be allotted a player from the national team of Australia Rugby who will turn out for their respective teams when available for selection.
The ARU had previously tried to float a second tier competition to supper the Super Rugby competition back in 2007 but had to fold the event after losses in excess of $ 5 million.
According to the head honchos of Australia Rugby, this competition will give the fans a taste of rugby in second half of the season once the elite Super Rugby competition has completed for the season. For players wanting to make a name for themselves, this will provide a platform that could earn them contracts with Super Rugby clubs or get them to the attention of the national team selectors in the long run too.