ARU announce exciting new initiatives for 2015 NRC


The ARU today announced the introduction of two new initiatives for this year’s National Rugby Championships – The Horan-Little Shield and the Australian Barbarians.

The Horan-Little Shield
Named after Wallaby legends and great mates Tim Horan and Jason Little, the Horan-Little Shield will be played for during the nine-week regular season. 2014 Buildcorp NRC minor premiers, Melbourne Rising, will be in possession of the Horan-Little Shield for the start of the campaign having gone undefeated for the regular season last year.

Melbourne Rising has confirmed the Horan-Little Shield will be put up for grabs in their opening clash when they take on Queensland Country at the Gold Coast this coming Sunday.

How the Horan-Little Shield will work:

  • Whoever holds the Horan-Little Shield is required to put it up for challenge at every home fixture.
  • For away fixtures, holders of the Horan-Little Shield may choose to accept challenges but are not obligated to do so.
  • In the event the holder wins two consecutive home games, or challenges, the Shield is then automatically up for challenge for each subsequent game the holder plays whether home or away.
  • The team holding the Shield at the end of the regular season (or finals game if they choose to play for the Shield then) will be the only team whose name is engraved on the Shield.
Having been undefeated in the regular season of the 2014 Buildcorp NRC, the Melbourne Rising are designated inaugural Shield Holders and are awarded 1 (one) Horan-Little Shield win.

Australian Barbarians
It was also announced today that an Australian Barbarians side – chosen from players playing in the Buildcorp NRC who were not contracted to Super Rugby franchises in 2015 – will take on a New Zealand Heartland XV in November.

The two-match series against a Heartland XV, selected from uncontracted Super Rugby players playing in the Heartland Championship, will take place at Levin Domain, Manawatu-Wanganui and Cooks Gardens, Wanganui on New Zealand’s North Island. Dates and kick-off times to be confirmed.

The selection committee for the Australian Barbarians will comprise of a panel chaired by Pathway Services Manager – Talent Development at the Australian Rugby Union, Adrian Thompson.

Rob Clarke, General Manager – Professional Rugby, Australian Rugby Union, said: “These new initiatives for season two of the Buildcorp NRC will generate significant interest and excitement around the competition.

“The Horan-Little Shield will give clubs another opportunity to win and show off some silverware while I’m sure the composition of the Australian Barbarians squad to tour New Zealand will be the source of plenty of discussion in living rooms, online and in pubs and clubs across the country.”


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