The key rule changes and the big numbers behind the inaugural Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines, to be held on February 15 and 16 at Eden Park.
The Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines is a live 31 game two-day rugby league extravaganza:
- 16 NRL teams with over 256 players will compete
- Star players are contractually guaranteed
- Teams will be made up of nine players across four pools of four
- AU$2.25 million dollars in prize money
- Almost 90,000 fans expected over two days.
The tournament is thanks to a partnership between the NRL and New Zealand's Duco Events, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Dick Smith.
ATEED are the foundation host city sponsor and will invest $NZ 9 million over five years while Dick Smith is also on board through to 2018.
Prize money available is a record New Zealand sport's purse of $AUD 2.25 million.
Winning team ($AUD370,000), runner-up ($AUD240,000), semi-finalists ($AUD165,000), quarter-finalists ($AUD130,000) and round robin losers ($AUD110,000).
• Introduction of the Bonus Zone – a five point try for tries scored in the in-goal area between the goal posts at each end. All tries scored outside the bonus zone will remain four pointers
• Introduction of 'GoldenTry' - where if teams are drawn at fulltime – in extra time the first team to score a try wins – with the 'Golden try'
• Goal-kicks will not feature in the tournament with dropkicks taken in line from where the try was scored worth two points. Penalty dropkicks will be worth two points with a field goal in general play remaining at one point.
• Scrums will consist of five players from each team and will only be used in the event of a double knock-on or a mutual infringement.
• In the event of a successful 40/20 kick, play will recommence with a tap re-start to the kicking team 20 metres in from where the ball crossed the touch line.
• Matches will be re-started by the scoring team through a drop kick off
• Referees will have the power to send players to the sin-bin for five minutes for foul play.