Greater Sydney Rams begin challenge for National Rugby Championship

The inaugural National Rugby Championship kicks off this weekend with the Greater Sydney Rams playing NSW Country Eagles at Coogee Oval.

Rams head coach Brian Melrose believes the competition will unearth new talent at the Parramatta-based Rams as they face off against Super Rugby contracted players.

"We have a great amount of club players and the challenge will be for those players to take on the nation instead of Sydney clubs," he said.

"It's the greatest opportunity for the players against people at the highest level."

The NSW Eagles have high-profile Super Rugby players including Kane Douglas and Stephen Hoiles, but Melrose is focused on his squad, who are backing up from the Shute Shield finals.

"On paper they [NSW Country] are a very strong team but I spend very little time thinking about what other teams do because I can't control that," Melrose said.

"The way we'll play it is an inclusive game.

"We believe all players from number one to 15 can carry the side."

Some law variations — including penalties reduced to two points and conversions increasing to three — intrigue Melrose.

"That is the excitement of being involved in something new," Melrose said.

''Every law brings change, so some of these will definitely quicken the game and make people make more attacking decisions. So those elements will come into the game very quickly.''

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