Both the coach and captain of the Wallabies are fully behind the new state competition, which has recently been approved by the Australian Rugby Union.
Speaking today from Johannesburg, where the Aussies are preparing for their match against the Springboks on Saturday, John Connolly told the media that the competition is a progressive move for Australian rugby.
“I think it’s great from the players’ point of view,” he said. ‘It gives the players a great opportunity and a better chance of being successful at the higher level.”
Connolly believes that club rugby is still important, but that the new competition holds obvious advantages.
“It will help broaden our base in terms of players, so often you watch players play club football and it’s difficult. At the end of each season this competition will give the best players an opportunity to play against each other. I think it’s a plus and won’t do any harm to the club football whatsoever.”
From a players perspective, George Gregan also expressed his approval of the new tournament.
“It’s really good news … it’s the sort of tiered competition that we required,” he said.
“As the game’s evolved over the last 11 years there’s definitely been a need for that next level of competition. It’s great news for Australian rugby and a good way to go forward.
“Club football’s always going to be there, it’s grassroots rugby, but it’s evident that there required another tier of competition and this getting okayed is fantastic news for the growth and the movement forward of Australian rugby.”