Action from this year’s Swindale Shield decider between Old Boys University and Paremata-Plimmerton. Photo: Stewart Baird.
The 2024 community rugby season in Wellington is drawing nearer.
Next year’s Swindale Shield draw was recently finalised and released by the WRFU, with the Premier competition kicking off on Saturday 6 April 2024.
The WRFU has also confirmed that is working on starting the season on that date for as many (men’s) grades as possible, so as to line up as many season finals as practically possible on Finals Day on Saturday 27 July. The Women’s competition will be released separately and will finish a few weeks earlier to line up with the start of the Farah Palmer Cup competition.
The draw released so far is just the Premier Swindale Shield, with the Premier 2 Harper Lock Shield and draws for other grades coming separately as well, once the format and structure of these is finalised.
The Swindale Shield runs for 13 consecutive Saturdays throughout April, May and June, heading into the four-week knockout rounds throughout July for the ultimate prize, the Jubilee Cup.
Also of note, Old Boys University are on the move again and their home ground for 2024 is still to be confirmed. They used Rugby League Park this year, but this is being utilised throughout the year as a training and community ground. Possible other options for them would be their most recent previous home at Nairnville Park, the Basin Reserve, Kelburn Park and Ian Galloway Park.
Northern United also have their regular home ground Jerry Collins Stadium back, while the Upper Hutt Rams will be looking forward to playing on their completed redeveloped facilities at Maidstone Park.
The season kicks off on the first Saturday of April with seven mouthwatering Swindale Shield matches headlined by a replay of this year’s Jubilee Cup final between Oriental-Rongotai and Paremata-Plimmerton at the champions’ home ground of the Polo Ground.
Other first round encounters include OBU v Johnsonville, Northern United v Marist St Pat’s at Porirua for the Maurice Standish Cup, Petone v Tawa at the Petone Rec, Upper Hutt Rams v Poneke at Maidstone Park for the Alby Makeham Shield, Wainuiomata v Avalon for the Anthony Waldrom Trophy at William Jones Park and Wellington v Hutt Old Boys Marist at Graham Williams Field.
With Easter falling the weekend before season kick-off, there are two rounds that fall on public holiday weekends. These are the King’s Birthday and Matariki rounds on 1 and 29 June respectively. Round four will be on Anzac weekend, on 27 April.
The annual first round ‘Battle of Kilbirnie’ between Poneke and Marist St Pat’s for the Horan-Millar Trophy is on King’s Birthday weekend, while Poneke hosts Ories for the Jim Grbich Memorial Shield at Kilbirnie Park the following weekend in round 10.
Petone are hosting Hutt Old Boys Marist this year for the famous McBain Shield. This is late in the round in week 11.
The Swindale Shield has been contested annually amongst Wellington’s Premier clubs since 1969. The Jubilee Cup has been on the line since 1929.
Paremata-Plimmerton hold the Bill Brien Challenge Shield.
Club rugby Old Timers’ Days are yet to be confirmed.
To download the draw click here: 2024 SWINDALE SHIELD DRAW
To view the draw see below. We will also upload this to our website over the coming weeks.