Local players will have the opportunity to try weight-restricted rugby when Kahukura Rugby and Sports Club enters a team in the Waikato Under-85kg competition for 2021.
The grade is quickly gaining popularity throughout New Zealand with competitions already established in North Harbour, Auckland, Counties Manukau, Waikato, Wellington and Manuwatu.
New Zealand Rugby sees the under-85kg grade as having untapped potential and last year announced the formation of the National Club Cup for the weight division.
Kahukura under-85kg team manager Lyndon Hart hoped the grade would catch on in Rotorua.
"We know some clubs are struggling for players so we don't want to take guys out of the senior ranks, this is about getting more players involved in the game," he said.
"Its a fantastic grade for smaller players who would otherwise have given the game away, or even players who have been hesitant to play at all.
"We'd love to see some more teams from Rotorua in the future and ultimately our own competition in the Bay of Plenty."
Last year, New Zealand Rugby head of participation and development Steve Lancaster said the National Club Cup was about reinvigorating and growing weight-restricted club rugby.
"This [new national competition] gives extra credibility to an important club grade," he said.
"It's an exciting opportunity for players from around the country to be involved in weight-restricted rugby and have a crack at making a national final.
"There's real appetite from provincial unions to grow weight-restricted rugby in their regions and provide more ways for people to play. This is one initiative to help support that growth."
Former All Blacks Coach Sir Graham Henry, a long-time supporter of club rugby and player development at all levels, is an ambassador for the competition.
"These grades have a lot of skilful and talented guys and we want these lighter players to stay in the game," he said.
"The grades can also play an important part in helping teenagers move from school to club rugby. The more opportunities we give our players to play and develop their skills, the stronger our rugby system will be."
Henry said keeping rugby players involved for as long as possible had wide-ranging benefits for the game.
"These 85s players are big supporters of rugby and could be future administrators, referees, coaches and sponsors and their value to rugby can't be understated."
Anyone interested in playing under-85kg rugby for Kahukura can contact the club via its website or Facebook page.