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Clubs Come First
North Harbour Rugby Union has made a significant change to the North Harbour Premier Club Rugby competition by announcing today that for the first time the competition will start and finish 2 weeks earlier in 2009, to ensure all Air New Zealand Cup players are available for their respective clubs for the entire premier competition.
The 2009 Premier Club Rugby competition will kick off this Saturday 21st March, at Silverdale Rugby Club. The showcase will enable the first round of the premier competition to be played on one day, at one location, to launch the start of the 2009 competition.
The decision to change the commencement date was initially suggested by new North Harbour Rugby Air New Zealand Cup Head Coach Craig Dowd, and unanimously supported by the Council of Clubs who oversees club rugby in the region.
Craig Dowd says “It’s important for our Air New Zealand Cup players to contribute to their respective clubs, as in many cases it has been these local clubs who have nurtured and fostered the players’ skills and talent, to enable them to progress to a higher level. “
“By making our Air New Zealand Cup players available for the entire premier competition they’ll be participating week in and week out in a more competitive competition which will require them to demonstrate the skills and enthusiasm they’ll need to possess during the Air New Zealand Cup. I believe it’s important for our young players to have the opportunity to play in a Club Final and for the integrity of the competition to be maintained right through to the end of the season. “
Brett Hollister, Chief Executive of North Harbour Rugby, is confident that 2009 will be one of the most exciting and competitive premier competition the North Harbour clubs and wider rugby community have seen before.
“The premier competition has a particularly strong following in the North Harbour region with loyal support from club fans. By changing the start and finish dates it creates a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone involved in club rugby.”
“We’ve seen the competition change significantly in the past when our Air New Zealand Cup players are withdrawn from their respective club sides part way through the competition. The change in 2009 will ensure our clubs aren’t losing players at the most critical part of the competition”.
The QBE Insurance North Harbour side will play 2 mid week pre-season matches at local clubs as part of their preparation for the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup competition. North Harbour Premier Club Finals will be held on Saturday 25th July at North Harbour Stadium, one week before QBE Insurance North Harbour’s first home game against Canterbury on Saturday 1st August.