03 Jun UC Vikings to return to NRC in 2016
The University of Canberra Vikings will return to the 2016 National Rugby Championship (NRC) hoping to go one better than last year, after finishing runner-up to Brisbane City in the Grand Final.
Both the University of Canberra (UC) and Vikings Group have agreed to a new one-year sponsorship deal which will see the Canberra-based NRC side remain as the UC Vikings. Following on from the 2016 season the intention would be for the ACT-based NRC side to be rebranded as the Canberra Kookaburras.
ACT Club Rugby Presidents have all been part of discussions about the future of Canberra’s NRC side and agree that commercially and financially, the support of both UC and the Vikings Group is vital for the side’s inclusion in the 2016 competition.
Interim Aquis Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson says “We are very grateful that both the University of Canberra and Vikings Group have agreed to a new one-year deal.”
“This will allow Aquis Brumbies contracted players and John I Dent Cup players the opportunity to take part in the national competition again in 2016.
“As we have seen over the past two years, the NRC provides a great pathway for ACT & Southern NSW players to elite rugby and has given homegrown players valuable experience in a professional rugby environment.
“A great example would be Joe Powell. After strong performances in local juniors and the John I Dent Cup, Powell was selected to represent the UC Vikings in 2014. From there he has now represented the Brumbies and is currently training with the Wallabies.
“We are very proud of our pathways to elite rugby in the ACT & Southern NSW and the NRC program is a key part of that.”
The new one-year deal will also see the ACT Griffins program supported again this year.
Thomson also wanted to address reports that the side would be rebranded this season.
“We understand there were reports that the UC Vikings would be replaced with another ACT representative side in the NRC however that won’t be the case in 2016.
“Commercially the best option for us this year is to remain as the UC Vikings. It locks in all of our home matches for 2016 and provides critical funding for this program.
“The UC Vikings represent the success of all seven John I Dent Cup clubs. Last season, players from each local team played for the side and that will be the case again in 2016 and beyond.
“I would like to thank the University of Canberra and Vikings Group for their continued support of our NRC program and hope that this year we can go one better than 2015.”
The one-year deal with UC and Vikings Group means the side will play all of its 2016 home matches at Viking Park in Wanniassa.