Eden Park will host the final of the NZ Barbarian Under 85 Club Cup on 7 November (live on Sky Sports) adding further weight to the inaugural edition of the weight-restricted national knock-out competition.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced today the Club Cup final will play curtain-raiser to the Mitre 10 Cup match between Auckland and Northland, providing a chance for 44 club rugby players to run out on the hallowed turf of Eden Park.
The Under 85 tournament, which was formed after research into rugby showed a demand for a national competition for weight-restricted grades, has captured the imagination of clubs up-and-down the country.
New Zealand Barbarian Rugby Club President and former All Black loose forward Alan Whetton said the popularity of this year’s national tournament was a massive boost for weight-restricted rugby.
“The standard of rugby, interest and excitement around this year’s quickfire five-week competition proves the desire people have for different grades of rugby. Having the final at Eden Park is going to spark further interest from potential participants.
“The skills displayed at these matches are of the highest standard and the passion expressed on field is something to see. We are behind weight-restricted rugby 110% and in for the long haul.”
This year’s Under 85KG Club Cup has already dished up some memorable moments, including the Mitre 10 Cup curtain-raiser at Wellington’s Sky Stadium between the Eastbourne Seagulls and the Wellington Axemen, a match that went down to the wire in front of a vocal local crowd.
NZR’s GM Community Rugby, Steve Lancaster, said: “It is fantastic to announce Eden Park as the venue for the final of this year’s comp and it will be a great occasion.
“Players, clubs and supporters have loved the opportunities that a weight-restricted national championship of this kind has presented to so many people, and being able to run out on the famous turf of Eden Park will be the icing on top for these guys.”
Although the inaugural Club Cup was severely disrupted by COVID-19, it had clearly proven there was high demand for the concept across New Zealand.
“Rugby is a game for everyone and giving a national tournament to the under 85 grade has been hugely popular. Next season we want to extend the invitation to clubs from all Provincial Unions across New Zealand and make it bigger and better.”
This weekend's semi-final fixtures will feature the Auckland University Squids versus the Avalon Wolves and the Eastbourne Seagulls versus the Eden Lizards.
Auckland University Squids v Avalon Rugby
1.00 pm kick-off at Colin Maiden #Field 10
Eastbourne RFC v Eden Lizards
12.00 pm kick-off at Evans Bay Park: 1