The first season of Welsh Premiership rugby in the North saw RGC pass the test with flying colours, chalking up plenty of upsets, a semi final place in the end-of-season play offs and the WRU Cup.
A place in the top flight is still guaranteed to the Gogs for the next two seasons – but they’ll have to adjust to a new look league taking the race for the title to the wire, rather than ending in any Grand Final showpiece.
The first half of the season will see the Premiership split into two – a league for the West and a league for the East. Considering Colwyn Bay’s fairly central location on the North Wales Coast, RGC have been drawn into the West Wales league, along with the likes of Bridgend, Llanelli, Neath and Swansea.
As such, RGC start their season away at Llandovery on the August bank holiday weekend, followed a week later by their first home game, when they take on Llanelli at Eirias Park.
The eight clubs will play each home and away until December, when the two leagues join together and each club plays the fifteen other teams once (home or away). They will start with a number of points based on how they finished in the regional league (e.g. first place – eight points, eighth place – one point)
The play-off system has been scrapped, so whoever finishes top of the table in the joint Premiership come May will be crowned champions there and then.
The WRU says the new system, created after a consultation with all sixteen teams, will help support the clubs financially and with the supporters in mind and guarantee 29 games a season. It will also guarantee more meaningful local derbies during the Christmas and New Year period, although that argument won’t apply so much to the sole top flight team north of Aberystwyth.
PRINICPALITY PREMIERSHIP WEST – eight clubs home and away
Saturday 26th August 2017: LLANDOVERY (A) – 2.30pm ko at Church Bank
Saturday 2nd September: 2017 LLANELLI (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 9th September 2017: NEATH (A) – 2.30pm ko at The Gnoll
Saturday 16th September 2017: ABERAVON (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 23rd September 2017: SWANSEA (A) – 2.30pm ko at St Helen’s
Saturday 30th September 2017: CARMARTHEN QUINS (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 7th October 2017: BRIDGEND (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 28th October: 2017: LLANDOVERY (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 4th November 2017: LLANELLI (A) – 2.30pm ko at Parc y Scarlets
Saturday 11th November 2017: NEATH (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 18th November 2017: ABERAVON (A) – KO TBA at Talbot Athletic Ground
Saturday 25th November 2017: SWANSEA (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 2nd December 2017: CARMARTHEN QUINS (A) – KO TBA at Carmarthen Park
Saturday 23rd December 2017: BRIDGEND (A) – 2.30pm ko at The Brewery Field
PRINCIPALITY PREMIERSHIP – all sixteen clubs (East and West) play each other once
Saturday 30th December 2018: BRIDGEND (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 3rd February 2018: LLANDOVERY (A) – KO TBA at Church Bank
Saturday 10th February 2018: NEATH (H) – KO TBA at Eirias Park
Saturday 17th February 2018: CARMARTHEN QUINS (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 24th February 2018: SWANSEA (H) – KO TBA at Eirias Park
Saturday 10th March 2018: ABERAVON (A) – 2.30pm ko at Talbot Athletic Ground
Saturday 17th March 2018: BARGOED (A) – KO TBA at Bargoed Park
Saturday 24th March 2018: LLANELLI (A) – 2.30pm ko at Parc y Scarlets
Friday 30th March 2018: CROSS KEYS (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Monday 2nd April 2018: CARDIFF (A) – 2.30pm ko at Cardiff Arms Park
Saturday 7th April 2018: PONTYPRIDD (A) – 2.30pm ko at Sardis Road (unless RGC are in WRU Cup semi finals)
Saturday 14th April 2018: BEDWAS (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 21st April 2018: EBBW VALE (A) – 2.30pm ko at Eugene Cross Park
Saturday 5th May 2018: MERTHYR (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
Saturday 12th May 2018: NEWPORT (H) – 2.30pm ko at Eirias Park
WRU CUP DATES
First round: Saturday 6th January 2018
Second round: Saturday 27th January 2018
Quarter finals: Saturday 3rd March 2018
Semi finals: Saturday 7th April 2018
Final: Saturday 28th April 2018
N.B. All fixtures and start times subject to change