SIRU dumps tradition in favour on Sunday finals slot

RUGBY UNION

SOUTHERN Inland Rugby will break with tradition and play premiership finals on a Sunday this year.

In a groundbreaking move, the SIRU board has backed a radical proposal to play the second week of first division (Romano's Cup) finals on Sunday, August 25.

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SIRU manager Mick McTaggart yesterday revealed the board had vetoed the switch to Sunday football for years, but had eventually relented this week.

McTaggart said the Sunday experiment had his complete support.

"I've wanted to try it for years, but the board has always knocked it back," McTaggart said.

"I think playing on a Sunday is smart and I can't see there being problems."

McTaggart is adamant playing finals on Sundays had worked successfully in other rugby union competitions and the concept would make a smooth transition to the SIRU premiership.

"They play Sunday finals in the Central West and the Shute Shield in Sydney," he said.

"I don't think there will be any issues.

"I definitely can't see a team forfeiting a final because it's on a Sunday."

Under the plan, first division and premier league (second week) finals will not be played at the same venue this year, a move which McTaggart makes economic sense.

"This way two clubs get a chance to host finals," he said.

"There are so many benefits."

Premier league finals will be played on Saturday, August 24, with the first division games the following day.

According to McTaggart, SIRU finals have only once previously been played on a Sunday.

"It would have to be 12 or 13 years," he said.

"Conolly Park was out of action because it was being prepared for an Irish Schoolboys international, so the games were moved to Kapooka and played on a Sunday.

"That was a one-off."

SIRU clubs voted 7-4 to play Sunday finals, with the door also open for a preliminary final to be moved from its regular Saturday timeslot.

Concerns that religious reasons might bring a negative response to the shift were unfounded.

Further emphasising the forward-thinking attitude of the SIRU board, McTaggart also revealed another innovation would be used in the finals in 2013. 

"The fifth and sixth teams will also play in the finals," he said.

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