LAST YEAR: Duncan Paia'Aua of Country is tackled during an NRC match between Brisbane City and Queensland Country at Ballymore Stadium in 2016.
LAST YEAR: Duncan Paia'Aua of Country is tackled during an NRC match between Brisbane City and Queensland Country at Ballymore Stadium in 2016. Bradley Kanaris

Queensland derby to be held at Noosa

RUGBY UNION: Queensland Country and Brisbane City will collide on the Sunshine Coast in September, after the National Rugby Championship draw was revealed on Friday.

The two sides will meet at the home of the Noosa Dolphins in a round two derby.

Both sides missed out on finals berths last year so will be determined to lift in 2017.

Queensland Rugby Union CEO Richard Barker said the state's governing body was delighted to stage the match at the grassroots venue.

"The Noosa Dolphins are one of our strongest country rugby clubs, not just on the Sunshine Coast but throughout the state," he said.

"Taking an NRC game to Noosa acts as recognition for the club and their ongoing commitment to the game.

"Queensland Country has been well supported by the Sunshine Coast previously, with local products including Conor Mitchell and Haydn Hirsimaki examples of the talent that the region has produced."

"The annual match will see Queensland Country and Brisbane City contest the Andy Purcell Cup, and will bring the best young rugby talent in Queensland to the Sunshine Coast community's doorstep."

The game will be played on September 9, a week after the eight-team season gets under way.

This year, the country's top rugby union competition will also include Fiji.

Ben Whitaker, ARU General Manager of High Performance said: "The NRC continues to grow and with the inclusion of Fiji the 2017 season will have an international flavour with flair which will boost the appeal of the competition for fans even further."

"The quality of rugby has improved dramatically from year to year and it is bound to go up another notch as the NRC enters its fourth season.

"Importantly, the NRC has proven to be a successful platform for player and coach development with graduation into Super Rugby positions at its highest in 2016. Both the players and coaches have overwhelmingly backed the competition, as have the fans, who watched the NRC in record numbers last season."

Fox Sports will broadcast two games each round on television with the two remaining games available to stream live.

STEELE TAYLOR



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