Club rugby finals expected to draw large crowd
North Harbour Stadium will play host to two great club rugby finals this Saturday. The Under 21 Colts final will be played between East Coast Bays and Marist with the Premiership 1 final played between East Coast Bays and Northcote.
The 2019 Premiership 1 final is a rematch of the 2018 final which saw Northcote raise the trophy with their 25-20 point win over East Coast Bays. Adding to the drama of Saturday’s game, Northcote are eyeing three premiership wins in a row while East Coast Bays are searching for their first Premier 1 premiership in 28 years.
Head of Rugby Operations for North Harbour Rugby Denis Henderson believes the Club finals are an important part of New Zealand’s rugby fabric.
“The finals are always memorable games and they mean a lot to the players, their clubs, family and friends, and the local community. For many players this is the pinnacle of their rugby careers and to play at North Harbour Stadium in front of 5,000 fans is a great spectacle for the sport,” he said.
Throughout the year, North Harbour Stadium hosts many different community events from sport to family days out.
RFA CEO Chris Brooks said hosting these free community rugby games at North Harbour Stadium is a real boost for the community.
“These Club finals mark the start of our busy winter season at North Harbour Stadium and it’s great to see the pride and passion for these games. We’re proud to be able to assist North Harbour Rugby in providing a great environment to bring their community together and celebrate the pinnacle of the club rugby season,” he said.
East Coast Bays Chairman Gavin Kennedy said it is a great result for the Club to have two teams play in the finals this year.
“Saturday’s games will bring the Harbour rugby community and club community together, adding a lot of value to both. Our under 21s team won the Colt Championships in 2017 and 2018 and have a good chance of keeping the cup this year. I know the Premier 1 team has been focused on this game for the season now as they look to avenge last year’s battle against Northcote. The Club is excited for both games and many of our players and members will be side-line supporting the boys.”
The free event has been hosted at North Harbour Stadium since 1997 and Saturday’s game is expected to draw a crowd of more than 5,000.