A repeat of the 2012 senior A club final will be played out in the first week of the competition next year after Taranaki Rugby released its draft draw yesterday.
The competition, which kicks off on March 16, will feature defending champions Coastal against New Plymouth Old Boys, Eltham-Kaponga will host Stratford in a local derby, and Spotswood United will be at home to Southern. Clifton are planning a festival day to start their season, with a match against Inglewood likely to be played at the Pukekohe Domain (Camp Reserve). Tukapa will have the first round bye.
While March 16 appears early to start the competition, it is only a day sooner than last season.
The early start also means the competition will finish on July 20, allowing Tenderlink Taranaki coach Colin Cooper to fit three pre-season fixtures in before the NPC starts on August 17 - a week earlier than this year.
Another feature of the draw is the decision to continue with games on Good Friday and Easter Monday.
With the start of Easter falling on March 29, most teams will have played four games in the first three weeks of the competition.
Taranaki Rugby have proposed the Dewar Shield sevens tournament be played on Saturday, February 16. A venue has yet to be decided.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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