Wellington's 2020 Swindale Shield draw will shape as a real test for the union's 14 Premier clubs as they battle for just seven places in the Jubilee Cup next season.
Just like 2019, the 2020 Premier club rugby season kicks off on March 21 a home and away round.
In the Premier competition, reigning Swindale Shield champions Hutt Old Boys Marist will kick off their title defence against Avalon at Fraser Park in one of seven opening matches.
Round one also sees two feature matches with a clash between beaten 2019 Jubilee Cup semi-finalists Tawa and Oriental-Rongotai at Lyndhurst Park, alongside a repeat of the 2019 Hardham Cup final between Marist St Pats and Old Boys University at Evans Bay Park.
Fans will eagerly wait for round six to see the highly anticipated repeat of the 2019 Jubilee Cup final when Wainuiomata host Northern United at William Jones Park.
In the Premier Reserve competition, reigning Harper Lock Shield and HD Morgan Memorial Cup champions Marist St Pats will kick off their title defence against Old Boys University at Evans Bay Park.
The first round of the Harper Lock Shield sees a repeat of the 2019 Ed Chaney Cup final between Northern United and Petone at Porirua Park, with the final round seeing a repeat of the tight 2019 HD Morgan Memorial Cup final between the Upper Hutt Rams and Marist St Pats at Maoribank Park*.
WRFU Rugby Board Chairman Peter Scott “is looking forward to another season of the strongest club rugby competition in New Zealand.
With 14 clubs in our premier competition and some significant milestones such as Wellington Football Club’s 150th Jubilee and 50 years since the merger to form Marist St Pats Rugby Football Club, it’s shaping up to be another exciting year.”
A success of previous years that will continue is the bye round during the Jubilee and Hardham Cup competitions.
Key features of the Swindale Shield include:
21 March home and away start
Clubs are split into two pools based on their results at the end of 2019
Clubs play a total of ten matches; six against the other teams in their pool as well as four crossover matches
Clubs will not play three other clubs in the Swindale Shield, same as 2019
The crossover matches were decided by a set formula that removed the need for clubs to pick who they did/didn't want to play. The formula makes it as equitable as possible for all clubs when playing crossover matches
One overall points table so clubs and fans know where their team stands in the race for the Jubilee Cup
The season has no mid-week or double-header rounds
* Subject to availability of Maidstone Park
Click here to see the full Swindale/Harper Lock Shield Draw.