The B.C. Rugby premier division is getting tweaked.
Starting Saturday, Sept. 19, the seven Lower Mainland premier men’s rugby clubs will compete in a seven-week qualification round that will decide the six teams that will vie for the Mainland Cup in mid-November and later advance to the Canadian Direct Insurance premier league that runs from January to April in 2016.
The Lower Mainland qualifying round will include Burnaby Lake RC, Capilano RFC, Meraloma Rugby Club, Seattle Saracens, UBC Old Boys Ravens, UBC Thunderbirds and the Vancouver Rowing Club.
The team that places seventh following the qualification round will be relegated to the Okanagan Spring Brewery League with the senior men’s Surrey, Richmond, Langley, Abbotsford, United and Bayside clubs.
A smiliar qualifying format will also take place on Vancouver Island between Castaway Wanderers, James Bay, UVic and Westshore Velox clubs.
The top three clubs from the Island will also contest the CDI premier spring league with the six Mainland teams next year.
Relegated teams will be able to compete in the qualification round the following September.
Burnaby Lake club president Simon Smoldon likes the idea of a higher profile nine-team premier league.
“Competition will inspire competition,” Smoldon said. “I like it. The higher you finish, you get an extra home game. It’s just a case of getting things up and running.”
Burnaby Lake opens the fall rugby schedule on Saturday, Sept. 19 against Meralomas at Connaught Park.
The club’s home opener takes place the following Saturday at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex-East against the Seattle Saracens.
Players, young or old, who are interested in playing junior or senior men’s, or women’s rugby can email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.