Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Today the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union announced the introduction of a Baywide Pro 4 series comprising of four teams, Bay of Plenty Samoa, Te Waiariki, Western Bay of Plenty and Eastern Bay of Plenty.
The Baywide Pro 4 series will comprise of three weeks of round robin fixtures, with the final week being held on Saturday 2 September at Eastern Districts Rugby Football Club in Paengaroa.
Following a series of informative discussions the new competition has been established to achieve a number of outcomes. The series will provide the involvement of more players and coaches participating in representative rugby following the Bay of Plenty Rugby club season. It is expected the series will assist with revival and subsequently growth of Sub Union Rugby, which has a proud history across the Bay of Plenty.
In addition to increased involvement in representative rugby the series will further assist the development of Bay of Plenty High Performance rugby players’ and provide player’s with the opportunity to be selected to be apart of the Bay of Plenty Steamers High Performance environment.
One of the goals of the series is to improve the connection between the Steamers squad and players who are either on the fringe or demonstrate potential. Up until now the Bay of Plenty Development team has widely been seen as the best way to promote players into the Bay of Plenty Steamers. But when reviewing the success of promoting players to the Bay of Plenty Steamers on a consistent basis it was felt that having a wider catchment of players involved would be a better pathway along with the new apprenticeship contracts.
Bay of Plenty Director of Rugby and Bay of Plenty Steamers Head Coach Clayton McMillan highlighted the opportunity for players’ involved in the Pro 4 Series to be selected into an apprenticeship programme, which would enable the players to be immersed in a semi-professional environment.
"We will be selecting players from the series to come into an apprenticeship programme, where they will be contracted to train and be part of the Steamers squad environment", said McMillan.
McMillan continued, "This provides us as coaches, an opportunity to work with those players more, get to see how they tick and most importantly the players get to see what a semi-professional environment is like and whether they are willing to do the hard yards to be part of it full time"
"We know Sub Union Rugby has a rich history and if the series is successful we would like to get all sub unions involved next year and have the Te Hurunui Apanui Shield up for grabs. The Central Bay of Plenty had committed to the Stan Meads Cup this year so will not be involved but their players will still be considered for the apprenticeship places", McMillan finished.
Finally McMillan highlighted the benefits for the Bay of Plenty Rugby Clubs, “We hope that the increased number of players, coaches and management involved it will provide them with the opportunity to take their key learnings from the series back to their clubs and assist the growth and development or their club personnel,” said McMillan.
Selection of teams will be determined by the players’ eligibility, if a player is eligible for more than one team, it has been agreed the player will choose what team he will player for in the series.
Saturday 19 August:
Eastern Bay of Plenty v Bay of Plenty Samoan, Lawson Park, Paroa
Te Waiariki v Western Bay of Plenty Sub Union, Richmond Park, Matata
Saturday 26 August:
Eastern Bay of Plenty v Te Waiariki at Rugby Park, Whakatane
Western Bay of Plenty v Bay of Plenty Samoan, Blake Park, Mount Maunganui
Saturday 2 September:
Eastern Bay of Plenty Sub Union v Western Bay of Plenty Sub Union, Paengaroa
Te Waiariki v Bay of Plenty Samoan, Paengaroa