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Women’s Provincial Championship 2015 draw

2015wnpcWomen’s Provincial Championship 2015 draw
Top four teams to contest semifinals

See the full draw – CLICK HERE –

2015wnpc1Nine teams will again compete for the Women’s Provincial Championship title when the competition kicks off on Saturday 22 August.

The 2015 season marks a change in format for the championship which is entering its 16th season. Unlike the full round robin format of previous seasons, this year each team will play six matches, three home and three away over a seven week period, with one bye week.

The leading four teams will take part in a semifinals stage for the first time since 2009 on Saturday 10 October. The top ranked team after six games will take on the fourth ranked team and the second ranked team will play at home against the third ranked team.

Six matches will be played as curtain raisers to ITM Cup matches and will be broadcast live on SKY. This includes the Final which is to be played on Saturday 17 October before an ITM Cup semifinal.

New Zealand Rugby’s Head of Women’s Rugby Development Cate Sexton said the Provincial Championship was a fantastic showcase for the women’s game.

“We really appreciate the support of Provincial Unions which are building competitions at the community level. It’s important we provide a provincial competition for the best players can gain valuable experience.

“Rising numbers of women are playing rugby these days and this competition provides a great platform for those who want to take their game to the next level.

“We need our Black Ferns and New Zealand Women’s Sevens players to be on top of their game and this competition is a valuable opportunity for us to build depth and for players to catch the eyes of selectors.”

The same nine teams that competed in 2014 will again line up in 2015; Auckland Storm; Bay of Plenty Volcanix; Counties Manukau Heat; Canterbury; Hawke’s Bay Tuis;  Manawatu Cyclones; Otago Heart; Waikato; Wellington Pride.

Current champions Auckland Storm begin their quest for an eighth successive title when they take on the Hawke’s Bay Tuis in Napier in the second of four matches on the opening weekend.

Waikato will get its chance to avenge the loss to Auckland in last year’s Final when the two sides meet in Week Five in Hamilton.

Auckland Storm are also holders of the JJ Stewart Trophy, the women’s equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield. This is on the line in every home match. In Week Two Canterbury will get a first crack at regaining the trophy which it held for much of the 2014 season before losing it to the Storm in the final match.

WEEK 1 – Draw
Sat 22 Aug – Canterbury vs Counties Manukau @ Christchurch
Sat 22 Aug – Hawke’s Bay vs Auckland @ Napier
Sat 22 Aug – Manawatu vs Bay of Plenty* @ Palmerston North
Sat 22 Aug – Waikato vs Otago @ Hamilton
BYE Wellington

* Televised Curtain Raiser to ITM Cup fixture

See the full draw – CLICK HERE –

Kickoff times and venues to be confirmed.

Under the new format, teams will play the two opponents they did not play during the season, in the following season.

Over an eight year period each team will play every other team six times – three times at home, three times away.



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