Playoff numbers to be cut under Super Rugby restructure



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On Tuesday, RA announced insurance broker Gallagher as a commercial partner on social media, for the Wallabies, Wallaroos, Super Rugby W, Under-16s and Under-19s programs. But it also included “National Club Competition”, which sent keen observers into a frenzy of speculation.

RA later confirmed there will be no National Club Competition in 2024, and edited the words to “any future National Club Competition” on the RA website. The mistake was as a result of Gallagher expressing willingness to stretch their sponsorship to a third-tier competition, if and when it began, according to informed sources.

Talks have been underway for over a year about the best option for a third-tier competition below Super Rugby, which would run after club competitions in September and October.

The national club competition is one possibility that has been discussed, and so has an Australian state-based competition that could use players, coaches and resources of existing Super Rugby and state franchises. It could allow a senior Victorian men’s side to compete against the other states, and possibly Pacific Islands representation too.

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RA has stated that it will continue “grow the game within the state” of Victoria after the shutdown of the Rebels in Super Rugby, and they continue to own the rights to use the club’s name and colours in all competitions.

The state-based competition could play a similar role to the former National Championships which ran from 1998 to 2000, and the 2006 Australian Provincial Championship, which utilised existing provincial franchises.

Currently, there is a one-off Australian Club Championship game, played last March between Randwick and eventual champions Brothers from Brisbane, but no broader competition between the country’s best club sides.

A potential disadvantage of a National Club Championship as a third-tier, developmental vehicle would be players all flocking to top clubs to get exposure at the next level, thus harming the clubs with less resources.



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