A TRIPLE round-robin format for the San Miguel Hongkong League is likely to replace the unpopular ''premiership'' concept. The Hongkong Rugby Football Union were hoping to implement an Australian-style premiership tournament where the top four teams after a regular season would go through to a step-ladder play-off. It was designed to maintain incentive for teams who would otherwise feel out of the championship running. But, with the majority of clubs opposed to the format, the Union are likely to push through the triple round-robin idea at tonight's fixtures meeting. Jamie Scott, the director of fixtures, said the league may not even start until the middle of October. ''The vast majority of clubs were against a premiership style format,'' said Scott. ''We are trying to have a continuous stream of 15s matches from mid-September to Chinese New Year. ''Clubs don't like the grand championships format, especially when it will be used to decide league positions. ''We will probably start off the season with a snappy, short tournament of some sort to give clubs the chance to prepare for the league season.'' The season will get underway on September 18 with the traditional opener, the one-day Valley 15s. A competition featuring all six First Division sides will take place between September 27 and October 11. The league is due to start on October 16. The triple round-robin system requires each First Division team to play 15 matches with some of the fixtures expected to be played in mid-week. The grand championship idea came about after Hongkong Football Club's one-sided title-triumph last season, when they had the league wrapped up well before the end of the campaign. It was thought that to give the top four teams a chance to win the title after the regular season would increase competition. Club themselves rejected the idea. John Clarke, who replaces Mike Ferrier as team captain, said: ''We feel that to have another competition after the league season to decide the champions is a bit of overkill.'' ''The competition will not be fun if that's the way to do it. I've talked to the players and the consensus is that such a format will be going over the top.'' Club are once again the team to beat next season, retaining the bulk of their championship-winning squad. Hongkong international prop Morgan Chubb and Ferrier may retire before the start of the season while full-back and last season's Player of the Year Justin Weston will leave the territory for the Middle East in September. The other teams in the First Division are Knockout Cup winners Kowloon, Valley, the one side to beat Club in the league, Police, Club Dragons and a British Forces side containing players from Tigers, Flying Kukris and the Black Watch.