The 2015 Waikato Premier Club Rugby competition officially launched with a dinner at the Marist RFC clubrooms on Wednesday night.
Described as one of the best club rugby competitions in the world, all ten teams in the premier grade including bitter rivals Marist RFC and Hamilton Old Boys were on hand to help launch the competition before games begin on Saturday.
New Waikato head coach Sean Botherway was on hand at the event.
Botherway said that the club rugby product in the Waikato is strong with the home/away structure of the competition.
“Club rugby deserves a profile in the Waikato area and a night like this is fantastic for raising profile ahead of what I think is going to be a really competitive season”.
Botherway described club rugby as very emotive and pointed to signs that people care about their teams.
Botherway went on to say that ITM Cup selection would come off the back of good performances starting at club level.
“The expectation will be there for players to perform for their clubs”, Botherway said.
Players competing in the competition include several ITM Cup regulars with the likes of Joe Webber and Wharenui Hawera being a part of last years Marist RFC side that captured the championship.
New Chiefs sensation Damian McKenzie also competed in this competition last year playing with University.
Waikato Rugby president Steve Gordon said that Waikato’s club competition is the envy of New Zealand.
Gordon went on to say that potentially, the Waikato club competition is the best of its kind worldwide for amateur rugby.
Defending champions Marist will open their campaign on Saturday with a clash against Hamilton Old Boys, the side they defeated last season to capture the title.