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Two Brisbane rugby teams crazy: Connolly

August 18, 2006 - 6:59PM

Wallabies coach John Connolly has objected to his former employer's "crazy" decision to base two teams in Brisbane for the national rugby union competition.

The Queensland Rugby Union has opted against a push to base one of their two third-tier teams on the Gold Coast in the eight-team competition, starting in 2007.

Connolly has railed against the decision, saying the much-criticised concept was crying out for the sort of rivalry and tribalism that a Coast side would bring to the table.

"It would be crazy to have two Brisbane teams," said Connolly, who coached the Reds from 1989 to 2000.

"Identities are important. One out of Brisbane and one on the Gold Coast.

"When Brisbane play Gold Coast the rivalry commences which is the key for this to develop."

The competition has been heavily criticised by Sydney clubs, particularly Randwick and Sydney University, for pulling the rug out from underneath the local premiership.

An Australian Rugby Union board meeting, held in Auckland, failed to finalise the locations of the three Sydney and two Queensland teams.

Perth, Canberra and Melbourne are all bases for other teams which are hoped to provide a better pathway from amateur to professional rugby.

Coast officials are staggered by the QRU's decision considering all other football codes are taking up the battle to win over the nation's sixth biggest city.

They also point to the fact the local Breakers club has been a heavyweight in the Queensland premiership and The Southport School is the reigning GPS schoolboy champions.

The Breakers have been pooled with rival Brisbane clubs Souths, Easts and reigning premiers Sunnybank as one team with the six clubs north of the Brisbane River making the other Queensland side.

A QRU spokesman said the decision for both sides to initially play out of Ballymore was partly made on economic reasons but indicated there was a possibility the southern team could relocate to the coast down the track.

"The feeling was we would rather walk before we run by playing both teams out of Brisbane," said the spokesman.

It's understood new Reds coach Eddie Jones also wanted the two Queensland sides to train in Brisbane to aid the Reds cause.

ARU boss Gary Flowers said team locations were yet to be locked in but would be made as a mutual agreement between the national and state unions.

"It's a work in progress," he said.

The three NSW teams are believed to be pencilled in to be based on the North Shore, western Sydney and city-south.

© 2006 AAP
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