Hawke's Bay Magpies coach Craig Philpott "100 per cent endorses" Henare O'Keefe's points around the final and the value it adds to the community.

"Every year I've been involved with the Magpies we've encouraged coaches because it is their competition and the [Hawke's Bay Rugby Union] administers it so they can shape it how they want to," says Philpott.

He has annually made an effort to ensure "the two windows match".

"Unfortunately the Mitre 10 Cup has a start point and we have to work from that point to make sure our players have a couple of games."

Advertisement

He says in previous seasons they had three pre-season games but this year two to minimise the impact of player loss on four teams entering playoffs.

"We have to prepare our players for the Mitre 10 Cup so, from a contracted player's perspective, those guys have to play because they are employees of New Zealand rugby who are sub-contract to Hawke's Bay rugby so we have a responsibility to those guys."

Philpott has suggested to clubs to start the competitions a little earlier, including adding a night round that O'Keefe has mooted as well.

"Imagine if we can have club rugby on a Wednesday night once in a year when they can host club games, have a hangi and people enjoying a drink at the bar."

He says that won't be too detrimental in the preparation for Mitre 10 Cup because squad members train on Wednesdays and weekends.

Clubs can also consider a "double weekend" on Queen's Birthday or Anzac Day public holidays.

"There are lots of ways you can get that one extra game in, which means the club finals will finish a week earlier."

Waikato, for example, played against Saracens last Saturday with their club finals dusted a weekend before the game.

Philpott says the clubs here, every year, say they are happy to keep the status quo.

"They always say we accept the Magpies won't be available. They are making that comment in December, obviously, not the week of the final or after it."

He wants nothing more than to marry the two amicably when they meet again in November.

Philpott says playing contracted rep players on a week day will mean incurring costs under the players' collective, reflecting on a previous season when they had to abandon a game because of the expense.

Playing Manawatu tomorrow in Palmerston North isn't an issue because the representative sides have entered the campaign window.

All bar one player is not contracted.