Chiefs match causes club rugby shuffle

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 15/05/2014

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Taranaki's premier club rugby matches will be spread over three days at Queen's Birthday weekend to accommodate the Chiefs' next home game.

Clubs scheduled to play at home in the second week of the second round had an option to play either Friday night, earlier on Saturday or on Sunday.

The Chiefs play the second of their two matches in New Plymouth on Saturday, May 31, when they host the Waratahs at Yarrow Stadium. The match kicks off at 4.35pm, causing disruption to the club competition, which usually kicks off each Saturday at 2.45pm.

Coastal were the only club to take up the option of playing on the Friday night and will meet Southern at Rahotu on May 30, starting at 7.30pm.

At this stage, Stratford have decided to keep their match against Tukapa on the Saturday but with an earlier kickoff time of 1.45pm.

That is likely to allow travelling Tukapa supporters only about an hour to leave Stratford and make their way back to New Plymouth before the Chiefs match starts.

Clifton have also indicated they will play their home match against New Plymouth Old Boys on the Saturday at the earlier kickoff time. The remaining match, between Spotswood United and Inglewood, will be played on Sunday afternoon at Yarrow Stadium.

Taranaki Rugby operations manager Derek Dingle said the union did not think it was fair to try to force clubs to play the entire round on Sunday and avoid a clash with the Chiefs match.

"We gave them options because it is Queen's Birthday weekend and if they played Friday night, then they would have Saturday, Sunday and Monday free. We didn't make it mandatory for them to play on Sunday."

Dingle said the premier games could not be played any earlier than 1.45pm on Saturday because of junior rugby on the day.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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