National Rugby Championship draw confirmed for 2019
The festival atmosphere ‘on the hill’ returns in 2019 with the Western Force to play four home matches at UWA Sports Park in the upcoming National Rugby Championships including a blockbuster opening fixture against last season’s Grand Finalists, Queensland Country, on Saturday August 31.
Home fixtures also include match-ups against Melbourne Rising, Canberra Vikings and Brisbane City.
In a tough opening fortnight, the Force will also play last year champions Fijian Drua in Suva.
Head Coach Tim Sampson believes the NRC is an integral part of the Australian rugby landscape and is looking forward to the 2019 competition.
“The importance of the competition is showcased each year, providing the players with the opportunity to continue playing at a high level,” Sampson said.
“Andrew Deegan, Ian Prior, Chris Alcock and Kieran Longbottom played extremely well for us in last year’s competition and their form continued into this year’s Global Rapid Rugby series.”
One match per round will be broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS with the remaining games to be shown LIVE on Kayo Sports and RUGBY.com.au.
Lunchtime kick-offs, suburban grounds and World Rugby law trials headline a blockbuster National Rugby Championship in 2019 after the season draw was released today.
A popular feature of the NRC will be continuing the use of suburban grounds, bringing fans closer to the action with all the benefits of Club Rugby.
Fans will be able to enjoy the best of Australia’s domestic competition with fixtures scheduled around the Rugby World Cup TV schedule, with NRC clubs to host “lunchtime footy” so that fans can catch all the action without missing any Wallabies matches in Japan.
Rugby Australia will also trial two law variations for World Rugby in this year’s NRC with law 21 amended and an introduction of a 50:22 kicking play.
Law 21 will change to see the defending team be rewarded for good defence with a goal-line drop out when the ball is held up in the in-goal area.
A 50:22 will reward a team that kicks the ball indirectly from open play or a free-kick from within their own half and the ball reaches the touchline inside their opponents’ 22 or the ball reaches the touchline inside their opponent’s half. The attacking team will then have the lineout throw, rewarding aggressive territorial kicking.
The 2019 season will open with a NSW derby between Sydney and the NSW Country Eagles at Apex Oval in Dubbo.
Defending champions, Fijian Drua will be looking to start their 2019 campaign strongly when they meet Brisbane City at GPS in Brisbane to headline the opening round fixtures, whilst Canberra Vikings travel to Melbourne to take on Melbourne Rising.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle said: “The NRC continues to be an important competition for the development of our elite Rugby talent and is also a showcase of the best Club Rugby players in the country, testing themselves in a genuine national competition.
“The Fijian Drua will again create massive fan interest for the way they play the game as they look to defend their crown, but every team has made moves to strengthen their programs ahead of the 2019 season and we are looking forward to the most competitive NRC season we’ve seen.”
“With a massive few months for our game with the Rugby World Cup, the NRC will feed fans’ desire to see live Rugby here at home, with the Qantas Wallabies battling it out in Japan at the same time.”
2019 National Rugby Championship Draw
Saturday 31 August – NSW Country v Sydney, 12.00pm, Apex Oval, Dubbo*
Saturday 31 August – Melbourne Rising v Canberra Vikings, 1.30pm, Box Hill Rugby Club, Melbourne
Saturday 31 August – Brisbane City v Fiji Drua, 3.00pm, GPS Rugby Club, Brisbane
Saturday 31 August – Western Force v Queensland Country, 3.00pm, UWA, Perth
Saturday 7 September – Fiji Drua v Western Force, 3.00pm, ANZ Stadium, Suva
Saturday 7 September – Melbourne Rising v NSW Country, 3.30pm, Bailey Reserve, Adelaide*
Sunday 8 September – Brisbane City v Sydney, 1.00pm, Bond University, Gold Coast
Sunday 8 September – Queensland Country v Canberra Vikings, 3.00pm, Bond University, Gold Coast
Saturday 14 September – Sydney v Queensland Country, 12.00pm, Woollahra Oval, Sydney*
Saturday 14 September – Canberra Vikings v Brisbane City, 2.00pm, Viking Park, Canberra
Saturday 14 September – NSW Country v Fiji Drua, 4.00pm, WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Sunday 15 September – Western Force v Melbourne Rising, 3.00pm, UWA, Perth
Saturday 21 September – Fiji Drua v Sydney, 2.00pm, Churchill Park, Lautoka*
(Saturday 21 September- Australia v Fiji, 2.45pm AEST)
Saturday 21 September – Western Force v Canberra Vikings, 3.00pm, UWA, Perth
Sunday 22 September – Melbourne Rising v Queensland Country, 1.00pm, Mars Stadium, Ballarat
Sunday 22 September – Brisbane City v NSW Country, 4.00pm, Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday 28 September – Canberra Vikings v Fijian Drua, 12.00pm, Viking Park, Canberra*
Saturday 28 September – Queensland Country v Brisbane City, 4.00pm, Marley Brown Oval, Gladstone
Sunday 29 September – Sydney v Melbourne Rising, 1.00pm, Forshaw Rugby Park, Sydney
Sunday 29 September – NSW Country v Western Force, 3.00pm, Port Macquarie Regional Stadium, Port Macquarie
Saturday 5 October – Canberra Vikings v Sydney, 12.00pm, Viking Park, Canberra*
(Saturday 5 October, Australia v Uruguay, 3.15pm AEST)
Saturday 5 October – Melbourne Rising v Fiji Drua, 5.30pm, Casey Fields, Melbourne
Sunday 6 October – Queensland Country v NSW Country, 3.00pm, Bond University, Gold Coast
Sunday 6 October – Western Force v Brisbane City, 3.00pm, UWA, Perth
Friday 11 October – Canberra Vikings v NSW Country, 6.00pm, Viking Park, Canberra
(Friday 11 October- Australia v Georgia, 9.15pm)
Saturday 12 October – Sydney v Western Force, 12.00pm, Woollahra Oval, Sydney*
Saturday 12 October – Fiji Drua v Queensland Country, 3.00pm, Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka
Saturday 12 October – Brisbane City v Melbourne Rising, 3.00pm, Easts Rugby Club, Brisbane
Saturday 19 October – 1st v 4th*
Sunday 20 October – 2nd v 3rd*
Saturday 26 October*
*FOX SPORTS Match of the round.
All times are local times.