There will be no fooling around on Saturday 1 April when the opening weekend of Wellington Premier club rugby competition gets underway around the region.
Following consultation, the WRFU have moved to release the draw for 2023, which can be found here: 2023 Swindale Shield Draw FINAL and will be uploaded to our website in due course.
Wellington’s 14 Premier clubs will again battle it out over a 13-match round-robin campaign to decide this year’s Swindale Shield winner, which has been contested over the first part of the season continuously since 1969.
Some features of the draw include:
- In what now seems to be a tradition, the opening round features the re-match of last year’s Jubilee Cup final, as Northern United travel to the Petone Recreation Ground to face the Villagers
- The Hardham Cup final re-match between Oriental Rongotai and Old Boys-University is down for King’s Birthday weekend in Round 10.
- The McBain Shield clash between Hutt Old Boys Marist and Petone is deep in the season, coming in Round 11 at the Hutt Recreation Ground
- HOBM will get their chance to avenge the semi-final defeat to Norths at home the following week, while Tawa’s shot at Petone comes at home in Round 7.
- The Battle of Kilbirnie between Marist St Pat’s and Poneke is marked down for Round 7 in mid-May, with the Jimmy Grbich Shield match between the latter and Ories in the penultimate round.
- Two matches highlight the final round with MSP and Petone meeting at Evans Bay and Tawa and Norths clashing in their Sammy Saili Trophy match.
Note that Northern United’s six Swindale Shield home games will all be on the #2 field at Porirua Park, owing to the South African Women’s soccer side booking Jerry Collins Stadium for their base of operations for their World Cup campaign.
Old Boys University have also moved their centre of operations on Saturdays from Nairnville Park to Rugby League Park in Newtown.
All Premier Swindale Shield encounters kick-off at 2.45pm, with Premier Reserve Harper Lock Shield fixtures slated for 1.00pm kick-offs. The draws and start dates for other grades are expected to be announced later in the summer.
A number of interclub trophies will be at stake in the opening 13 weeks of the Premier season. The annual McBain Shield clash between Petone and Hutt Old Boys Marist is later this year, in round 10 on 13 May.
Club rugby Old Timers’ Days are yet to be confirmed.
The draw for the opening two rounds is:
Round One – Saturday 1 April
- Avalon Wolves v Oriental-Rongotai, Fraser Park
- Marist St Pat’s v Upper Hutt Rams, Evans Bay Park
- Old Boys University v Tawa, Rugby League Park
- Paremata-Plimmerton v Wainuiomata, Ngati Toa Domain
- Petone v Northern United, Petone Rec
- Poneke v Hutt Old Boys Marist, Kilbirnie Park
- Wellington v Johnsonville, Hataitai Park
Round Two – Saturday 8 April (Easter Weekend)
- Avalon Wolves v Wellington, Fraser Park
- Johnsonville v Petone, Helston Park
- Northern United v Old Boys University, Porirua Park #2
- Oriental-Rongotai v Marist St Pat’s, Polo Ground
- Tawa v Poneke, Lyndhurst Park
- Upper Hutt Rams v Paremata-Plimmerton, Maidstone Park
- Wainuiomata v Hutt Old Boys Marist, William Jones Park
The full draw, including details of interclub trophies, will be inputted into the Draws & Results (tab above) of this website in the coming days/weeks.