25 Nov 2010

Local derbies prominent in 2011 provincial rugby championship

8:36 am on 25 November 2010

Traditional provincial rivalries will be prominent in next year's provincial Rugby championship with local derbies featuring in a first ever match selection web-conference today.

The 14 provincial rugby teams were able select their opponents in "crossover" matches where ITM Premiership teams play ITM Championship teams.

Teams ranked first to seventh at the end of the 2010 season will play in the Premiership and those eighth to 14th in the Championship.

All provinces will play every other team in their division and there'll be four crossover matches which carry full points in the competition, which has been reduced to eight weeks to accommodate the Rugby World Cup 2011.

Today's meeting confirmed four of the 10 matches all 14 teams will have to play, but scheduling will be confirmed only when the full ITM Cup draw is finalised at the end of the year.

The first round of crossover matches confirmed, with championship teams at home, are: Otago v Southland, Manawatu v Taranaki, Tasman v Canterbury. North Harbour v Auckland, Northland v Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau v Waikato and Hawke's Bay v Wellington.

The second round with tthe Premiership teams playing at home is Canterbury v Northland, Waikato v Otago, Auckland v Counties Manukau, Wellington v Manawatu, Taranaki v Tasman, Bay of Plenty v Hawke's Bay and Southland v North Harbour.

The third round with Championship teams playing away is Taranaki vs Hawke's Bay, Southland vs Counties-Manukau, Wellington vs Northland, Bay of Plenty vs North Harbour, Waikato vs Tasman, Canterbury vs Manawatu and Auckland vs Otago.

The automatic crossover matches pre-determined by seeding are:

Otago v Canterbury (14 v 1), Manawatu v Waikato (13 v 2), Tasman v Auckland (12 v 3), North Harbour v Wellington (11 v 4), Northland v Taranaki (10 v 5), Counties Manukau v Bay of Plenty (9 v 6), and Hawke's Bay v Southland (8 v 7).