Play Rugby in Australia
Australia has a rich history of rugby union, represented at the highest level by the wallabies. But you don’t have to be Michael Hooper or Will Genia to play rugby in Australia. In every corner of this beautiful country you will find a rugby club happy to welcome you with open arms. This article will break down each state into its regions and what kind of offering there is in regards to playing rugby in Australia.
The Shute Shield based in Sydney is the pinnacle of club rugby in NSW. The best 11 teams compete to win the premier grade competition, it really is for top level players.
If you want to play in Sydney but not at the semi-professional level of a Shute Shield club then there are still plenty of clubs to choose from. New South Wales Suburban Rugby is where to look, it’s the grassroots of rugby in Sydney. There are thousands of players playing at 55 clubs competing across 6 divisions. Sydney is the iconic Australian city, with the famous attractions such as the opera house and harbour bridge to Bondi beach and Manly. The capital of NSW has a lot to offer the budding international rugby player.
Outside of Sydney you have New South Wales Country Rugby, which encompasses all other areas in the state. The union is split into nine zones from the far south coast to the far north coast with 100 clubs and over 16,000 players. From beautiful seaside towns like Byron Bay and Port Macquarie to bigger cities like Newcastle and Wollongong. New South Wales has every kind of offering and rugby clubs up and down the coast to match.
Queensland Premier Rugby is the highest level of competition in the state and is on par with the Shute Shield in NSW. There are nine teams that compete for the title, eight from the Brisbane area and one from the Gold Coast. Outside of the main city Brisbane, Queensland Country Rugby is grouped into eleven sub groups over three regional divisions:
North Queensland – head up to Cairns or Townsville and experience the Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep. There’s around 30 teams to choose from across four sub unions.
Central Queensland – have the Whitsundays as your back garden. Or, living in Bundaberg could be the perfect place to do your farm work and play rugby.
South Queensland – Has 30 clubs spread between the Sunshine Coast, Darling Downs and the Gold Coast. From Surfers Paradise to Noosa the beaches along this stretch are incredible and the perfect place to relax in your down time.
Has 65 clubs with 317 teams across the region. The ACT’s premier division is the John I Dent Cup, for the best 7 teams in Canberra. There are another 8 competitions spread across the ACT region. Australia’s capital offers a lower cost of living to other city’s so you can make the most of your money.
Victoria has 27 clubs spread across four leagues. The premier division is located around the state capital Melbourne, the best eight teams compete for the Dewar Shield. Melbourne is a popular destination for travellers from overseas with its diverse culture and popular seaside suburbs such as St Kilda. It is widely regarded as the sport capital of Australia, home to the MCG, Australian Open tennis and Australian Grand Prix. It’s also rated one of the best cities to live in worldwide!
Western Australia is home to 36 clubs. The top level of Western Australia domestic rugby union is the Premier Grade. Running from early April to mid August in and around the Perth area. Western Australia offers year round sunshine, pristine beaches and crystal clear water it’s the perfect place to live. Perth is the perfect base to give yourself the mix of beach and city. With the opportunity to explore the rest of what the state has to offer.
The three leagues in South Australia service 15 member clubs across the region. The premier competition run out of Adelaide is contested by 10 sides. Adelaide is one of the most affordable cities to live in and has fantastic wine regions. However, be warned it might be a little colder than you would want your Australian experience to be.
Northern Territory rugby has a rich history with 6 clubs competing in the Darwin league and four within the Central Australian competition. The Northern Territory isn’t all red clay and crocodiles. Australia’s only tropical city has been named the best to find a job. With a range of national parks it really is a beautiful spot. You may want to get out once rugby season is over as summer brings the wet season with over 80% humidity.
The beautiful island of Tasmania hosts two rugby competitions. If the capital, Hobart is where you want to be, it’s easy to see why, an area of outstanding natural beauty. The laid back locals will help you to fall in love with the place even more.