North Otago Rugby has reverted to its old ways.
The Citizens Shield final was originally scheduled for July 9, but the All Blacks’ test match against Ireland, in Dunedin, has been set for the same date.
As a result, the union’s club council unanimously voted on Monday to move the final forward by a week, to July 2, and drop the quarterfinal round from the finals set-up.
Teams will now play straight semifinals, with first v fourth and second v third, on June
Whoever wins those matches advances straight to the final — a format used by North Otago up until last year.
North Otago Rugby chief executive Colin Jackson said the test match was a major factor as it would be heavily supported by North Otago.
He applauded the club rugby council’s decision.
‘‘The clubs have made a pragmatic decision. It’s only losing one more round,’’ Jackson said.
‘‘That’s [also] the reality of Covid. We’ve had to compromise continually, and the clubs have made very good decisions about when to start this competition — good on them.’’
The president’s grade final will still be played as a curtain-raiser on July 2.
The club council also made the call regarding the second round of the Citizens Shield.
If teams are unable to play tomorrow or the following weekend due to Covid-19, then points will be split between the two teams.
In the final three rounds, leading up to the semifinals, there will be no splint points. Teams had to either play or default, Jackson said.
In the first round, the Athletic Marist v Excelsior and Valley v Maheno games were unable to be played due to Covid-19. Points have been split between the teams.
Citizens Shield has been exciting this season, with all teams having lost at least one game and some really competitive matches.
‘‘The sixth team can still make the final — what more could you ask for?’’