Central Bay of Plenty have a lot to play for when a short and sharp Stan Meads Cup competition kicks off this weekend.
Six Waikato and Bay of Plenty sub-union teams will battle to lift the trophy which the Central Bay side won in 2019.
They also hold the Peace Cup, nicknamed the "ugliest" trophy in New Zealand rugby, which returned to Rotorua for the first time in 15 years after Central beat Te Awamutu to break the Waikato side's vice-like grip on the challenge trophy after 28 successive encounters.
The Stan Meads Cup is named in honour of one of the most dedicated All Black forwards of the 1960s. A piece of genuine rugby history continues on in the Stan Meads Cup competition, with the Peace Cup on the line throughout the five weeks of competition.
While the Peace Cup centennial celebrations have been put on hold until next year, the 100-year-old trophy remains an active rugby prize as the SMC Challenge trophy.
Central Bay of Plenty head the round-robin section one draw, with Hamilton and South Waikato also in their pool of play. Central displayed their credentials last season, when they relieved Te Awamutu of the Peace Cup 38-31 in round-robin play, then repeated the Te Awamutu misery defeating them 22-14 in the 2019 Stan Meads Cup title decider.
Lurking on the other side of the draw are multiple Stan Meads Cup champions Te Awamutu. The Waikato sub-union side has had a stranglehold on the SMC competition since it was established in 2012, winning the prestigious trophy on seven occasions. Joining Te Awamutu in section two are Piako and last-season newcomers Cambridge.
Central Bay of Plenty will put the Peace Cup on the line against South Waikato in round two, after sitting out the bye in the opening round.
The top two teams from each section will play in crossover semifinals on Saturday, October 3. The winner of section one will host the section two runners-up with the section two winners at home to the second team in section two.
The final will be played on October 10.
Stan Meads Cup Draw (Home teams first - 2.30 pm start):
Saturday, September 12:
Section One: South Waikato v Hamilton, Central Bay of Plenty the bye.
Section Two: Piako v Cambridge, Te Awamutu the bye.
Saturday, September 19:
Section One: Central Bay of Plenty v South Waikato, Hamilton the bye.
Section Two: Te Awamutu v Piako, Cambridge the bye.
Saturday, September 26:
Section One: Hamilton v Central Bay of Plenty, South Waikato the bye.
Section Two: Cambridge v Te Awamutu, Piako the bye.
Saturday, October 3:
Saturday, October 10:
Stan Meads Cup Final.