The NRC Trophy – this is what they’re playing for!

The NRC Trophy – this is what they’re playing for!

So the new National Rugby Championship (NRC) kicks off tomorrow night when Brisbane City take on the Sydney Stars at Ballymore. Despite being in the midst of a couple of Bledisloe test matches, there seems to be genuine excitement about Australia’s next iteration of a provincial championship.

We understand the goal of the competition, and it’s challenges. We’ve met the teams and the coaches and are forming our allegiances. But let’s learn a bit more about what exactly these guys are playing for – the NRC trophy! Described by some as a sailing ship on squashed bean bag, there’s actually a story behind it’s design. For that, let’s hear from the sculpture responsible for its design and creation, Roger Apte.

It was my intention to allude to the history of Rugby while also presenting the contemporary edge of this new NRC competition. To do this, I used the leather on the base to hark back to the history of the leather ball and boots.

“This traditional base literally carries the contemporary stainless steel ball shape and metaphorically carries your history towards your future. Part of the brief was for the Trophy to have ‘substance’. I set about satisfying that requirement by marrying the ball shape and logo into a base which carries a sense of physical substance and visual ‘weight’. This is backed up by a physical weight and balance that is designed to have ‘heft’.

“To pique visual interest, the shape of the base is almost horizontal. It earths the lustrous stainless steel, half-ball which is the top of the Trophy and allows that shining form to have strength and weightlessness.

This unexpected shape for the trophy is a purposefully designed tactic to disrupt  a viewer’s expectation of a trophy. These different aspects of the design make the viewer look again and the more they look the more they take in the meaning of the Trophy itself.”

Get it? Look through the potential arty wank speak of some of that (with the greatest of respect to the Mr Apte) and I reckon he’s done a bang up job. Cups and shields and vases are all too common these days, and new ones often look like a false tradition grab. Likewise crystal, which seems the material du jour when it comes to awards, is wise to be avoided.

The leather base is unique and provides a genuine relevance to the competition and a fantastic message of ‘while we’re trying something new, let’s never forget our past’.

Have a look below for a slide show of the genesis of the newest trophy on the Australian Rugby landscape.



The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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