Stage set for new season of Sydney Club Rugby
January 16, 2007

Sydney Club Rugby's traditional showpiece returns to centre stage in 2007 with the introduction of the Tooheys New Shute Shield.

The Tooheys New Shute Shield features all Sydney premier Rugby clubs along with 2006 Shute Shield debutant Illawarra, and will be run over 13 weeks starting April 7.

A four week Finals series, to be contested by the top six teams, will follow the regular season and will run concurrent to a six team plate playoff series.

As has been the case in previous years with the Tooheys New Cup, the Tooheys New Shute Shield Grand Final will be held at Aussie Stadium on Saturday 28 July.

"The Shute Shield has always been highly prized and it will only become more competitive now it's again the highlight of club Rugby," NSWRU Chief Executive Fraser Neill said.

"We've seen some classic Shute Shield Finals in recent years and I'm sure the same kind of excitement and emotion will be a feature of the revamped competition.

"We're also grateful to Tooheys New for their continued support and for having the vision to see the Shute Shield retain its name in the interests of tradition."

One of the features of the 2007 draw, released today, is the implementation of local derby day, in which all Sydney based clubs will face off against their closest and fiercest rivals.

Innovation has also been taken into account in competition planning with the Tooheys New Shute Shield to be played under the Stellenbosch rules, designed under the guidance of the IRB to simplify Rugby and encourage open play.

The new laws will be introduced internationally after the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

"Such is the strength of Sydney club Rugby, the IRB has decided that the Shute Shield will be the first to use these rules in organised competition," NSWRU Commercial & Operations General Manager Dave Gibson said.

"NSW Rugby and the Sydney Premiership have a responsibility to grow the game and making it more attractive as a spectacle is part of that.

"Using the Stellenbosch rules will only serve to advance Sydney premier Rugby's reputation as the standout club competition in Australia."

Mr. Neill said the revamped competition provides something for everyone, with the introduction of the plate playoffs ensuring continuity across the year.

"We were determined not to leave a hole in the middle of the club season," Mr. Neill said.

"The plate playoffs will provide continued competition for teams outside the top six, and there's real incentive to avoid the wooden spoon.

"This way the vast majority of first grade players whose teams miss out on the Shute Shield Finals are guaranteed matches in the interim."

A five round First Grade competition, to be played in two pools similar to the 2006 Shute Shield, will kick off on August 4 before a first v second Final to be played on 8 September.

TOOHEYS NEW SHUTE SHIELD 2007

ROUND 1 - Saturday 7 April

Eastwood v Gordon TG Millner Field

Warringah v Southern Districts Pittwater Rugby Park

Manly v Parramatta Manly Oval

West Harbour v Penrith Concord Oval

Randwick v Northern Suburbs Coogee Oval

Illawarra v Eastern Suburbs WIN Stadium

Sydney University BYE

ROUND 2 - Saturday 14 April

Southern Districts v Eastwood Forshaw Rugby Park

Eastern Suburbs v Warringah Woollahra Oval

Penrith v Manly Nepean Rugby Park

Randwick v West Harbour Coogee Oval

Northern Suburbs v Sydney University North Sydney Oval

Parramatta v Illawarra Two Blues Park

Gordon BYE

ROUND 3 - Saturday 21 April

Eastwood v Eastern Suburbs TG Millner Field

Gordon v Southern Districts Chatswood Oval

Warringah v Parramatta Pittwater Rugby Park

Manly v Randwick Manly Oval

Sydney University v West Harbour University Oval no.1

Illawarra v Penrith WIN Stadium

Northern Suburbs BYE

ROUND 4 - Saturday 28 April

Eastwood v Parramatta TG Millner Field

Gordon v Eastern Suburbs Chatswood Oval

Penrith v Warringah Nepean Rugby Park

Sydney University v Manly University Oval no.1

West Harbour v Northern Suburbs Concord Oval

Randwick v Illawarra Coogee Oval

Southern Districts BYE

ROUND 5 - Saturday 5 May

Penrith v Eastwood Nepean Rugby Park

Parramatta v Gordon Two Blues Park

Eastern Suburbs v Southern Districts Woollahra Oval

Warringah v Randwick Pittwater Rugby Park

Northern Suburbs v Manly North Sydney Oval

Illawarra v Sydney University WIN Stadium

West Harbour BYE

ROUND 6 - Saturday 12 May

Eastwood v Randwick TG Millner Field

Gordon v Penrith Chatswood Oval

Southern Districts v Parramatta Forshaw Rugby Park

Sydney University v Warringah University Oval no.1

Manly v West Harbour Manly Oval

Northern Suburbs v Illawarra North Sydney Oval

Eastern Suburbs BYE

ROUND 7 - Saturday 19 May

Sydney University v Eastwood University Oval no.1

Randwick v Gordon Coogee Oval

Penrith v Southern Districts Nepean Rugby Park

Eastern Suburbs v Parramatta Woollahra Oval

Warringah v Northern Suburbs Pittwater Rugby Park

Illawarra v West Harbour WIN Stadium

Manly BYE

ROUND 8 - Saturday 26 May

Manly v Gordon Manly Oval

West Harbour v Southern Districts Concord Oval

Eastern Suburbs v Northern Suburbs Woollahra Oval

Parramatta v Sydney University Two Blues Park

Penrith v Randwick Nepean Rugby Park

Eastwood v Illawarra TG Millner Field

Warringah BYE

ROUND 9 - LOCAL DERBY DAY - Saturday 2 June

West Harbour v Eastwood Concord Oval

Northern Suburbs v Gordon North Sydney Oval

Southern Districts v Sydney University Forshaw Rugby Park

Randwick v Eastern Suburbs Coogee Oval

Parramatta v Penrith Two Blues Park

Manly v Warringah Manly Oval

Illawarra BYE

ROUND 10 - Saturday 9 June

Eastwood v Northern Suburbs TG Millner Field

Gordon v Sydney University Chatswood Oval

Southern Districts v Randwick Forshaw Rugby Park

Eastern Suburbs v Penrith Woollahra Oval

West Harbour v Warringah Concord Oval

Illawarra v Manly WIN Stadium

Parramatta BYE

ROUND 11 - Saturday 16 June

Manly v Eastwood Manly Oval

Gordon v West Harbour Chatswood Oval

Northern Suburbs v Southern Districts North Sydney Oval

Sydney University v Eastern Suburbs University Oval no.1

Randwick v Parramatta Coogee Oval

Warringah v Illawarra Pittwater Rugby Park

Penrith BYE

ROUND 12 - Saturday 23 June

Warringah v Eastwood Pittwater Rugby Park

Southern Districts v Manly Forshaw Rugby Park

West Harbour v Eastern Suburbs Concord Oval

Parramatta v Northern Suburbs Two Blues Park

Penrith v Sydney University Nepean Rugby Park

Illawarra v Gordon WIN Stadium

Randwick BYE

ROUND 13 - Saturday 30 June
Gordon v Warringah Chatswood Oval

Eastern Suburbs v Manly Woollahra Oval

Parramatta v West Harbour Two Blues Park

Northern Suburbs v Penrith North Sydney Oval

Sydney University v Randwick University Oval no.1

Southern Districts v Illawarra Forshaw Rugby Park

Eastwood BYE

FINALS

TOOHEYS NEW SHUTE SHIELD

ELMINIATION SEMIFINALS - Saturday 7 July - Venues TBC

Elimination Semifinal A - Team 3 v Team 6

Elimination Semifinal B - Team 4 v Team 5

ELIMINATION/QUALIFYING FINALS - Saturday 14 July - Venues TBC

Elimination Final - Winner Elimination Semi A v Winner Elimination Semi B

Qualifying Final - Team 1 v Team 2

PRELIMINARY FINAL - Saturday 21 July - Venue TBC

Loser Qualifying Final v Winner Elimination Final

GRAND FINAL - Saturday 28 July - Aussie Stadium

Winner Qualifying Final v Winner Preliminary Final

PLATE PLAYOFFS

ELIMINATION SEMIFINALS - Saturday 7 July - Venues TBC

Elimination Semifinal A - Team 9 v Team 12

Elimination Semifinal B - Team 10 v Team 11

ELIMINATION/QUALIFYING FINALS - Saturday 14 July - Venues TBC

Elimination Final - Winner Elimination Semi A v Winner Elimination Semi B

Qualifying Final - Team 7 v Team 8

PRELIMINARY FINAL - Saturday 21 July - Venue TBC

Loser Qualifying Final v Winner Elimination Final

GRAND FINAL - Saturday 28 July - Venue TBC

Winner Qualifying Final v Winner Preliminary Final

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