Aussies finally catch up

Australia will launch a new, eight-team national domestic competition next year to rival New Zealand’s NPC and South Africa’s Currie Cup.

The competition will be launched with an eye to strengthening the Wallabies and the country’s Super 14 teams, officials announced Wednesday.

The decision was a result of a three-day meeting of 70 senior players, coaches and officials of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU). The ARU said the “primary aim is to improve the Wallabies and
Super 14 teams and provide more opportunities for outstanding club rugby players”.

The competition will involve three teams from New South Wales state, two from Queensland and one team each from Canberra, Victoria and Western Australia.

With the introduction of the Super competition involving teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, the club game has suffered in Australia over the past decade with dwindling crowds, interest and sponsorships.

ARU chief executive Gary Flowers said the creation of the new competition would give Australia the same opportunity to find and develop talent as happens in South Africa and New Zealand.

“We did a lot of research looking at our competitors both in the southern hemisphere and the northern hemisphere and information about the number of elite games that those countries are playing,” he said.

“What we realised was that performance at international level isn’t just a stroke of luck. It doesn’t happen because people are born gifted. It happens because talent is identified and they play in the right competitions.”