Criteria needed to have team in premier grade being looked at

An overhaul is under way to the rules which allow clubs to have a team in the Dunedin premier club competition.

The event this season consisted of nine teams after Pirates withdrew a few weeks before the competition started.

On Thursday night at Forsyth Barr Stadium, West Taieri, the winner of the premier two grade challenged Green Island for a place among the top sides.

It lost 37-17 allowing Green Island to stay in the premier grade.

But that led to suggestions.

West Taieri should be introduced anyway to make the competition an even number and avoid the unwanted bye.

However, it is simply not that easy.

To have a premier side, clubs have to meet certain criteria although these have been changed or not adhered to over the years to keep clubs in the premier competition.

Pirates withdrew this year but has a year’s exemption to get a team back in.

That looks like a forlorn hope with the side having just one men’s team this year, which finished out of the playoffs in the premier two competition. It did not have a team in the colts competition.

There was also talk of the club merging with Southern but little progress had been made with that.

Metropolitan Rugby Council match committee chairman Mike Reggett said a sub-committee had been formed to develop some new rules around the criteria needed to have a team in the top grade.

The rules would go back to the clubs to be voted on so they could be implemented for the 2018 season.

One suggestion was clubs would have to have another senior team and also at least a junior colts side to be able to field a premier club team.

Clubs needed to have other teams to help build their depth for their premier side.

Harbour was given an exemption this year as it did not have a colts side. It was attempting to get a colts team for next year.

The rules needed to be clear and concise as they had been bent and exemptions given over the past few years.

West Taieri has never had a team in the premier grade and president Daryl McKenzie said the club was pleased with the performance of the side on Thursday night.

There had been no real discussion about the side going into the premier grade to make up the numbers as he believed Pirates had the first right to enter a team.

West Taieri was hoping to get a senior team up and running next year along with its premier two team. 

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