It will not only need to align with the rugby calendar but also be financially sustainable, with a yet-to-be-determined budget dependant on the amount RA can attract from a broadcaster.
RA does not have a preference for any particular model but is committed to including teams from non-traditional rugby states.
Two of the models feature eight teams, while there are also 16-team and 32-team options which are both knockouts.
The 32-team option is similar to the FFA Cup – but unlike the soccer tournament, professional teams such as the Waratahs wouldn’t be involved. Every state premier rugby competition would be represented but working out how many NSW and Queensland sides would take part, for example, is up for debate. Rankings would be based on performances in respective state-based competitions that year.
RA is keen to form a working group made up of premier rugby clubs and state unions to consider and investigate competition modelling. The group would have a say in determining how many teams from each state would be selected for the nationwide tournament. The bottom line, however, is that broadcasters will have the biggest influence.
Option two is a 16-club knockout competition with 15 matches across four weeks but only with teams from the Shute Shield (NSW), Hospital Cup (QLD), John I Dent Cup (ACT), Dewar Shield (VIC) and Fortescue Premier Grade (WA).
Options three and four, both with eight teams, are round-robin based. One model involves two pools of four teams that come from the five above mentioned states and territory. Each team would play three games, one against each other, before the top two advance to semi-finals.
The other model is similar to the last but two ‘wildcard sides’ will be able to qualify for pool spots, which would also be divided up with four teams split across two pools. The third and fourth models would run for five weeks and six weeks, respectively.
RA is keen to formally begin broadcast negotiations by September 4.