Club rugby sea­son kicks off soon

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - KRIS DANDO

Tawa’s pre­mier rugby team’s quest to get into the history books will be kicked off with a tough match against Marist St Pat’s on the open­ing day of the 2017 club rugby sea­son.

The just-re­leased Swin­dale Shield draw has a gala day on March 18 at Up­per Hutt’s Awakairangi and Maorib­ank parks.

Tawa’s game against MSP is likely to be the fea­ture of the first round, with the Lyn­d­hurst Park­based club looking to be­come the third con­sec­u­tive side to win the Swin­dale Shield the year af­ter win­ning the Ju­bilee Cup.

Doug Fletcher has signed on for an­other sea­son as Tawa’s coach and he will be aided by Welling­ton and for­mer High­landers rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shaun Treeby, who is likely to play as well.

Treeby takes over from Wil­lie Lafaele, who left the as­sis­tant coach role at the end of the sea­son.

Ger­ard Fasavalu will con­tinue as North­ern United’s coach, with a fo­cus on get­ting into the Ju­bilee Cup. His as­sis­tants will be Rob Aloe and Tane Lang­don-Lane, while Matt Poutoa con­tin­ues with the women’s team.

Phil Gibb has taken over the helm at Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton from Ja­van Brown and he’ll be as­sisted by Mike Hunter, the two hav­ing worked at Horowhen­u­aKapiti pre­vi­ously.

On Fe­bru­ary 14, Welling­ton Rugby Foot­ball Union also re­leased de­tails of changes to the club rugby com­pe­ti­tion for­mat, fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with clubs.

In the Swin­dale Shield and Harper Lock com­pe­ti­tions, there will be a 13-game round robin, which in­cludes matches on the af­ter­noon of An­zac Day.

The se­cond-round Ju­bilee Cup for­mat re­mains un­changed, but there are ma­jor dif­fer­ences to the Hard­ham Cup.

It will be re­duced from eight to six teams, will only be con­tested by pre­mier teams and will a home-and-away for­mat, with no fi­nals.

The Ju­bilee and Hard­ham Cup rounds are sched­uled to start on June 10 with the Ju­bilee Cup fi­nal pegged for Au­gust 5 or 6.

The open­ing matches on March 18 for the Porirua basin sides, all 2.45pm:

Tawa v Marist St Awakairangi Park No 4

North­ern United v Pe­tone, Awakairangi Park No 2

Pare­mata Plim­mer­ton v Ori­en­tal-Ron­go­tai, Maorib­ank Park No 1 Pat’s,

PHOTO: KEVIN STENT/FAIR­FAX NZ

The Tawa team cel­e­brate with the Ju­bilee Cup.

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