Council to review club structure

Last updated 05:00 28/02/2014

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The Council of Rugby Clubs will hold yet another club review in June to try to map out the future of club rugby in Southland.

A special meeting was held at Rugby Southland on Wednesday night to discus a group of town clubs' concerns over the 2014 club format and the Council of Rugby Clubs' structure, which was believed to be weighted heavily in favour of country clubs.

The bulk of town clubs want a premier competition where each team has a second team play before them each Saturday in a development or premier B-type competition.

Under the current format, premier clubs' second teams play in the division two competition and last season often played at different venues each Saturday.

At the meeting on Wednesday night it was highlighted that the draws this season would ensure, where possible, a club's premier and 'B' teams would play at the same venue.

It has been decided a full club review will be held after the first round of the season in June to pull together everyone's thoughts.

It is one of many club reviews that have been instigated in recent years, with the last one led by Tom Conroy at the end of the 2013 season. That review ended with the status quo being retained, to the disappointment of town clubs.

Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley said this week's meeting was a positive one, saying there was no town-country rift and they were making some positive progress with club rugby.

"Everyone realises we're all trying to head in the same direction, which is looking to improve rugby in Southland," he said yesterday.

Town club presidents spoken to by The Southland Times yesterday were also happy with what they were told at the meeting, and walked away comfortable with the current situation.

Marist president Michael Griffin said the preference was still to have a development competition in the future, but he was happy that progress was being made to potentially get to that point.

"Everybody in the room, which was probably 30 people, were there for the benefit of club and Southland rugby. They're all passionate about moving forward," he said.

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- The Southland Times

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