Marist St Pats are the 2020 Swindale Shield champions, but it's 0-0 when the Premiers hit the field in their Jubilee Cup semi final against Old Boys-University at Evans Bay Park on Saturday.
In a normal season they would be preparing for another six rounds to test themselves against the field; but due to Covid-19, the condensed season sees the top four teams head straight to knock out rugby in the quest for the Jubilee Cup.
The other semi final will see Petone host Northern United at Petone Rec.
It seems an age since the two clubs contested the Hardham Cup final last year, both have rebounded from that disappointing season to show the rest of the competition that 2019 was an exception. Both clubs have been near the top of the rankings throughout the Swindale Shield round.
Marist St Pats of course come into the match with the top record, 11 wins and 2 losses in the Swindale Shield. Those two losses came by a combined three points, to Petone and Hutt Old Boys Marist.
An indication of how close the competition has been at the top, fourth placed qualifiers Old Boys-University finished the first round with a 10 win, 3 loss record. Two of those losses have come in the final three rounds, to Hutt Old Boys Marist and Oriental-Rongotai respectively. The other came at the hands of the Red Machine who won the round six match by 22-18.
That match was played in front of a bumper crowd on Old Timers Day and was a close affair for the entire 80 minutes, with Marist St Pats taking the lead at the 75 minute mark.
Unfortunately the semi finals will again be played under Covid-19 Alert Level 2 restrictions, meaning the crowd size will be limited.
The match will be broadcast via livestream on our Facebook page with commentary from JP Tocker and Matt Buck. The feed will go live at approximately 2.55pm. If you have a Chromecast device you can use that to watch on a television.
We will also be posting live score updates on Twitter.