Poverty Bay union has agreed to “gift” the hosting rights for one of its games against Ngati Porou East Coast to the Coast this season.
The traditional Queen’s Birthday fixture between the neighbouring unions will be hosted by NPEC.
Their Heartland competition game on October 5 will be in Gisborne.
Josh Willoughby (Poverty Bay CEO) said the gifting of a home game to NPEC was in recognition of the 20-year anniversary of their National Provincial Championship third-division win.
Ngati Porou East Coast won back-to-back NPC Division 3 titles in 1999 and 2000.
The East Coast union is also looking ahead to its centenary in 2021.
NPEC chief executive Cushla Tangaere-Manuel said the union appreciated Poverty Bay’s gesture.
NPEC had the two Poverty Bay fixtures at home last year and Poverty Bay had them the year before that.
If they continued to split hosting duties, Tangaere-Manuel expected NPEC would be able to host a Poverty Bay match in her union’s centenary year.
Eight teams will contest the club competition on the East Coast.
NPEC is New Zealand’s smallest union for player numbers and population base.
“With the amount of travel and for a union our size, we’re very proud to have all eight teams confirmed,” Tangaere-Manuel said.
The 16-week competition starts on March 30.
Uawa defeated Tokararangi in last year’s final to claim the Rangiora Keelan Memorial Shield.
The union also plans to run a six-week women’s sevens club competition this year.
Club Teams for 2019
NPEC CLUB RUGBY DRAW 2019
Download PDF – CLICK HERE –
There will be no games Easter weekend or Queens Birthday