In Australia there are two codes of rugby played: National Rugby League (NRL) and Australian Rugby Union (ARU). NRL is perhaps the more prevalent of the two and is followed primarily throughout New South Wales and Queensland. Along with the 16 teams in the national competition, New South Wales and Queensland battle it out in the annual State of Origin series – one of the toughest sporting contests in the world. ARU is well-represented with five Australian teams involved in the Super Rugby competition doing battle with five from New Zealand and five from South Africa. The national team, the Wallabies, is followed throughout the country and is regularly near the top of international rankings.
Where: Australia-wide, though predominantly Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT
When: NRL: March – September; Super Rugby: February – August
Players to watch: NRL: Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm), Ben Barba (Canterbury Bulldogs); ARU: Digby Ioane (Queensland Reds), Kurtley Beale (Melbourne Rebels)