We have retained the playoff structure which has been hugely popular
The New Zealand Rugby Union have again changed the format of their premier domestic competition, the NPC, by eliminating Tuesday matches from the roster.
The competition has been extended by a week, with the regular season to be played over nine weeks - followed by semifinals and a Final.
The vast majority of provincial unions were pushing for the season to be extended by two weeks - with both Tuesday and Wednesday game scrapped - while Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury were understood to be happy with the status quo.
This format looks like the very definition of compromise by the NZRU.
The NZRU said in a statement that following consultation with NPC provincial unions, the competition will begin on the weekend of August 17 and will run for nine weeks followed by semifinals and Finals.
NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said there had been overwhelming support from NPC unions to start the competition a week earlier to help address concerns about mid-week fixtures.
"Matches will no longer be scheduled for Tuesdays, and teams will now only have one short turnaround in a season, rather than two," the statement said.
"There is still a very clear desire for NPC to retain a standalone window in order to preserve the windows currently for both club rugby and Super Rugby. Starting a week earlier is a sensible solution that doesn't compromise those dedicated timeframes," Tew said.
"The competition will still conclude at the end of October and we have retained the playoff structure which has been hugely popular with fans and unions. We saw this year that heading toward the playoffs, almost every team had something to play for."