Launceston clubs to play in a new Northern Conference of the Tasmanian Rugby Union

BEES BUZZING: Launceston are set to face new first-grade side Burnie in the Tasmanian Rugby Union season opener in the controversial new northern conference competition.

BEES BUZZING: Launceston are set to face new first-grade side Burnie in the Tasmanian Rugby Union season opener in the controversial new northern conference competition.

Launceston and AMC Vikings are set to essentially play in a new four-team competition after the Tasmanian Rugby Union split the state into half.

“I was a big advocate for the statewide competition to stay the way it was,” Launceston Bees coach Nic Sotiriou said. 

“Now there’s just four out of the ten teams, so it is what it is now.

“The only fair way of doing this is every team getting a home game and an away game against every other team.”

The fixture has both clubs play Devonport and Burnie in a 10-round Northern conference before the clubs join their six Hobart counterparts for a further five statewide rounds.

Sotiriou believes Burnie’s inclusion back into the first-grade competition after a year out has also forced the strong Hobart clubs to show their hand.

“I can understand that if you’re in Burnie, you have to travel the furthest every time – it’s a 10-hour day every trip to Hobart,” he said.

“But there are advocates in the south that don’t like travelling north as well.”

AMC Vikings coach Ray Burgess said he was willing to accept the TRU decision.

“I can see what they’re trying to do: make more clubs stable and build up numbers,” Burgess said.

“We’ll just run it up the flagpole and see how we go.”

Burgess also believes his student side would benefit from the initial easier travel schedule.

“The northern competition may help us out a bit because usually at the start of the season we’re a bit slow and the second half of the season we do well,” he said.

Launceston kickoff the new season in Burnie while AMC travel to Devonport on Saturday.

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