Sydney Rays

Sydney Rays

Macquarie University Sydney Rays


(as Central Coast Rays) – ARC
re-formed as North Harbour
Rays 2014, Sydney Rays 2016.
Location Sydney, Australia                                     

North Sydney Oval

(Capacity: 20,000)

Pittwater Park

(Capacity: 10,000)

Coach(es) Simon Cron
Captain(s) Matt Lucas
League(s) National Rugby Championship
2015 7th
Team kit
Official website
Rays winger Sireli Tagicakibau watches his forwards scrum against Brisbane in 2014.

The Sydney Rays is an Australian rugby union team that competes in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team is one of three sides from New South Wales in the competition; the other two being the Western Sydney Rams and the Country Eagles.

The current Rays team in the NRC takes its identity from the Central Coast Rays side that played in the earlier national competition, the Australian Rugby Championship (ARC). The Rays drew players mainly from four Shute Shield clubs; Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, and Warringah. The Central Coast Waves club was also aligned with the Rays for the ARC, but the competition was disbanded following the first season in 2007. After an absence of six years, the national competition was relaunched as the NRC in 2014.[1]

A consortium of the same four Shute clubs from the ARC reformed the team as the North Harbour Rays in 2014 to play in the NRC.[2] The team was renamed the Sydney Rays in 2016.[3]

Name and colours

The Rays' name was adopted for the team's first incarnation on the Central Coast, with a manta ray chosen to represent the marine environment of the local area.[4] The logo features a manta ray in navy blue, outlined in white, on a stylised emerald green and white rugby ball, outlined in navy blue. The only change from the original logo has been the name prefix moving from Central Coast to North Harbour and, as of 2016, Sydney. The team plays in a harlequin-style quartered strip composed of blue, red, green, gold and black colours from the four constituent clubs. All four clubs’ colours are also featured on the socks.[5]


In 2007, an attempt was made to form a third tier of rugby in Australia, similar to New Zealand's ITM Cup and South Africa's Currie Cup. The newly formed competition included eight teams and was called the Australian Rugby Championship.[6] Three of those teams were based in New South Wales, including a Central Coast team.[7]

Central Coast Rays 2007 kit and logo. 
Rays played at Bluetongue Stadium in 2007.

Central Coast Rays (ARC team)

The Central Coast Rays' name and colours were officially unveiled in March 2007 by the New South Wales Rugby Union (NSWRU). The Rays' navy blue and emerald colours represented the ocean and bush landscape of the region.[4]

The Rays' local rivals in the ARC were the Sydney Fleet and the Western Sydney Rams. The three ARC teams from New South Wales were aligned with existing clubs and regions. The clubs aligned with the Central Coast Rays were Gordon, Manly, Northern Suburbs, and Warringah, from the Shute Shield competition, as well as the Central Coast Waves.

The Central Coast Rays played their home games at the Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium at Gosford, on the New South Wales Central Coast. Bluetongue Stadium, with an all-seater capacity of 20,159, had previously hosted numerous rugby union fixtures including Central Coast Waves matches and New South Wales Waratahs matches during the Australian Provincial Championship.[8]

John McKee was the head coach of the Central Coast team.[9][10] He had previously coached the Eastwood club and worked with French club Montferrand and Irish team Connacht.[9]

After finishing second on the league table, the Central Coast Rays came from behind against the Perth Spirit in their semi-final, winning 27 to 19. The Rays hosted the Melbourne Rebels in the inaugural ARC Grand Final and won 20 to 12, becoming the inaugural (and only) champions of the ARC.

The Australian Rugby Championship was terminated at the end of 2007 after only one season of competition, with the Australian Rugby Union citing higher costs than budgeted and further projected financial losses.[11] The Central Coast Rays team was disbanded at the end of the ARC.

North Harbour Rays

North Harbour Rays 2014 kit and logo. 

The National Rugby Championship was announced in December 2013 to commence in 2014 with expressions of interest open to any interested parties and the accepted bids announced early in 2014.

In March 2014 it was announced that the Rays would be revived as the North Harbour Rays to compete in the new National Rugby Championship.[12] The new Rays team was backed by a consortium of four Shute Shield clubs: Manly, Warringah, Northern Suburbs and Gordon.

The team played in a quartered harlequin-style strip composed of blue, red, and two shades of green from the four constituent clubs. The sleeves were gold and black, collar and shorts were white and all four clubs’ colours were featured on the socks.[5]

The Rays secured Macquarie University as their principal partner on a two-year deal, to be officially be known as the Macquarie University North Harbour Rays for the 2014 and 2015 NRC seasons.[13]

Phil Blake was initially appointed as the Rays head coach for the 2014 season, with Scott Fava, Haig Sare and Geoff Townsend as part of the coaching staff,[14] but after Blake accepted a coaching opportunity with Leicester Tigers, Geoff Townsend was promoted to the head coaching position,[15] Damien Cummins replaced Fava as the forwards coach.[15] Greg Peterson was named as captain.[16] In 2015, Townsend was reappointed as head coach,[17] and Luke Holmes was named as captain.

Sydney Rays

The team was renamed the Sydney Rays for the 2016 season. Consideration was given to the Southern Districts club switching allegiance to the Rays in 2016,[3] but they remained with the Rams.[18] Damien Cummins was initially named as the Rays head coach for the 2016 season but he stepped down and Simon Cron was appointed to the job.[19]


Previous Rays home grounds
Venue   Location   Capacity
Brookvale Oval Brookvale 23,000
Central Coast Stadium Gosford 20,059
Manly Oval Manly 5,000

As of 2016, the Sydneys Rays play at North Sydney Oval and Pittwater Park, the home grounds of member clubs Northern Suburbs and Warringah, respectively.[20]

In previous seasons the club has played at Brookvale Oval and Manly Oval, home of member club Manly, located on Sydney's Northern Beaches. The Rays played at Bluetongue Central Coast Stadium for the ARC in 2007.


With the reemergence of the competition in the form of the NRC, fans from Manly and Warringah rugby heartland - tragic supporters of the game - formed the 'STRAYS'. In the spirit of rugby and the NRC they came together to make sure the new club had support in the local community and to 'enrich the sideline experience'. Its members were drawn to the common cause by the founder, Michael Gordon.

Current players

The following players were named in the North Harbour Rays' squad for the 2016 National Rugby Championship:[21]





  • Australia James Brown
  • Australia Adrian Hall
  • Australia Nick Palmer
  • Australia Angus Ryan

Loose Forwards





  • Australia Harry Jones
  • Australia Dennis Pili-Gaitau
  • New Zealand Irae Simone
  • Australia Seb Wileman



(c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes player is internationally capped, 1 denotes allocated national player additional to the contracted squad.



Season standings

National Rugby Championship

Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts   Play-offs  
2016 2nd 7 6 0 1 258 174 +84 3 27   Lost semifinal by 24–42 to Perth Spirit
2015 7th 8 2 0 6 275 339 −64 3 11   Did not compete
2014 7th 8 2 2 4 240 327 −87 0 12   Did not compete

Australian Rugby Championship

Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts   Play-offs  
2007 2nd 8 5 0 3 268 159 109 6 26   Champions

Head coaches



See also


  1. "Australia relaunches National Rugby Championship". 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  2. "ARU Board approves nine team National Rugby Championship to start in August 2014". (Press release). 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2014.
  3. 1 2 "Sydney Stars victims of National Rugby Championship consolidation". The Daily Telegraph. 11 February 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 4 June 2016.
  4. 1 2 "The Central Coast Rays :: A Natural Choice". 2007-03-15. Archived from the original on 2007-08-06. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
  5. 1 2 "NRC update part 2: NSW Country and the Sydney teams". The Roar. 9 July 2014. Archived from the original on 9 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  6. "Mazda Australian Rugby Championship". Australian Rugby. 2007. Archived from the original on 8 February 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  7. "NSW unveils three team structure for national comp". ESPN Scrum. 6 September 2006. Archived from the original on 13 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  8. "Central Coast Stadium". Retrieved 2007-03-15.
  9. 1 2 "Aussie Coach Returns for Australian Rugby Championship". 2006-12-20. Archived from the original on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-03-15.
  10. "How It Happened - the ARC Story in NSW". Waratahs Rugby. 2007. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007. Retrieved 7 October 2007.
  11. "ARU pull plug on Australian Rugby Championship". ESPN Scrum. 18 December 2007. Archived from the original on 12 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  12. "Australian Rugby Union says National Rugby Championship to start in August". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 20 July 2014.
  13. "North Harbour Rays team up with Macquarie University" (Press release). Macquarie University. 16 June 2014. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  14. "North Harbour Rays press release" (Press release). North Harbour Rays. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  15. 1 2 Cook, Paul (9 June 2014). "NRC: Geoff Townsend Announced As North Harbour Rays Head Coach". Rugby News. Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  16. "Peterson locked in to lead Rays" (Press release). Rays Rugby. 20 August 2014. Archived from the original on 20 August 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  17. "North Harbour Rays 2015 Head Coach". Sporting Scribe. 2 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  18. "Questions and answers – 2016". Rams Rugby. 16 July 2016. Archived from the original on 17 July 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  19. 1 2 "Simon Cron takes over as Rays head coach". Rays Rugby. 13 June 2016. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
  20. Newman, Beth (29 June 2016). "Tries more valuable in new NRC". Australian Rugby. Archived from the original on 29 June 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  22. North Harbour Rays announce 2015 NRC squad
  23. "Macquarie Uni North Harbour Rays development squad" (Press release). Northern Suburbs. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014.
  24. "Pek Cowan will now be aligned with the Perth Spirit". RugbyWA. 24 July 2014. Archived from the original on 31 July 2014. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  25. "Qantas Wallabies player alignments unveiled for 2014 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship". Australian Rugby. 21 July 2014. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.

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