READY TO PLAY: Some alterations have been made to Bay of Plenty rugby competitions for the 2019 season. File photo

DROPPING bonus points is the big change for the 2019 Bay of Plenty club rugby season.

The season begins in a little over a month and teams will no longer earn bonus points for scoring four tries or for defeats within seven points. The theory behind the change, which differs from most top competitions, is that it will increase the reward of winning games.

It was also based on recent years where teams would finish ahead of teams who had more victories.

The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union’s end-of-season review last year included a player survey and sub-union consultation. From this, the union’s senior club working group kept the same structure that has been in place for the past three years.

Two competitions of 12 teams will play in the first half of the season, which will provide seedings for three, eight-team competitions to decide the premier, premier two and division one champions.

Te Teko and Opotiki will represent the Eastern Bay in the top 12 while Eastern Bay teams in the bottom 12 include Whakatane Marist, Ruatoki, Paroa, Murupara and Poroporo.

The first half has been modified for 2019, with teams playing nine games instead of 11. Each tier will have two pools of six, with each team playing all six teams in the opposing group as well as three teams from their own group.

The three fixtures from within the group have been decided based on seeding from last year.

The changes to the competition were based on results from the survey which included 78 percent of people surveyed being satisfied with the format. The format also allows four clubs to be promoted from division one to premier level each season.

Reducing the Bay competition by two weeks allows for local rugby to be played prior to the competitions starting.

The other change is the points difference equation, which comes into play when deciding table position. The format has been using points scored and subtracting points against.

The new system will be a points ratio which divide the two totals in what the union claims will be a fairer approach to establishing finishing order and is widely used among other sports.

adyn.ogle@thebeacon.co.nz