An NFL-style combine set to re-start Australia's new domestic competition
Leading players in Australia are looking to give rugby in the country an injection of fresh air by proposing a radical new concept inspired by the NFL.
It’s been almost two months since professional rugby was last played in Australia when Super Rugby was suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but a revised domestic competition is scheduled to get back underway on July 4.
Senior players within Australia want to introduce a new concept a week before the new competition’s start date in a move that could give rugby a surge of interest in a country where engagement in the sport has been badly waning in recent times.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a one-day ‘combine-’style event has been proposed to Rugby Australia (RA), and would be televised a week before the competition’s kick-off.
The NFL combine has long been used as an opportunity for scouts to assess the next generation of college athletes leading into the league’s draft, and has doubled as an entertaining event as players show off their athletic prowess.
The Herald reports that an Australian rugby version of the spectacle would be held in a similar fashion.
Players would illustrate their power, skill and speed through a variety of challenges, such as the Bronco shuttle test, a 40-metre dash, kicking challenge and a weighted sled dash.
The proposal was put forward to RA by senior players last week, with the plan that players would accrue points on a leaderboard with one team finishing top of the heap by the end of the day.
“The ‘Combine’ concept is structured much like an ‘athletics track and field’ model with the ‘events’ being rugby specific to highlight the talents of our particular athletes,” the authors propose according to the Herald .
“Each ‘event’ will have a competitor from each club, with an ultimate event winner.”
Discussions surrounding a potential combine adds to the promising advancements rugby in Australia has made to getting back out on the playing field, with clubs to be given a coronavirus briefing before training resumes next Monday.
The rebooted competition is expected to be a 10-week round-robin competition involving the Brumbies, Reds, Waratahs, Rebels and Western Force.
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