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2016 ITM Cup crossover matches set

Canterbury won this year's ITM Cup. Photo / Getty
Canterbury won this year’s ITM Cup. Photo / Getty

itm23bThere will likely again be no Battle of the Bridge in ITM Cup competition for 2016.

The annual North Harbour-Auckland grudge match had to be played as a pre-season fixture in 2015 as neither union was able to nail down the clash in the crossover selections and continues the sporadic nature of what was once a much anticipated fixture on the provincial rugby calendar.

ITM Cup provincial unions have today chosen their opposition for compulsory crossover match-ups between Premiership and Championship teams in the 2016 ITM Cup.

New Zealand Rugby will now begin work on the ITM Cup draw for 2016, which will be completed over the coming months.

Next season’s ITM Cup will kick-off on Thursday August 18 with finals on October 28-29.


Automatic selection round:

With 2015 final positions determining the seeding order for the next season, this round was automatically selected on seeding order whereby the team seeded first in the Premiership will play the team seeded seventh in the Championship, the team seeded second in the Premiership play the team seeded sixth in the Championship, and so on.

These games will be home games for the Championship teams as follows:
Northland v Canterbury
Southland v Auckland
North Harbour v Tasman
Bay of Plenty v Taranaki
Otago v Counties Manukau
Wellington v Waikato
Manawatu v Hawke’s Bay

Provincial union selection rounds

Crossover selection 1
Championship teams chose Premiership opponents for Championship home games, in reverse seeding order:
Northland v Waikato
Southland v Hawke’s Bay
North Harbour v Counties Manukau
Bay of Plenty v Auckland
Otago v Tasman
Wellington v Taranaki
Manawatu v Canterbury

Crossover selection 2 
Premiership teams chose Championship opponents for Premiership home games, in seeding order:
Canterbury v Otago
Auckland v Northland
Tasman v Southland
Taranaki v Manawatu
Counties Manukau v Bay of Plenty
Waikato v North Harbour
Hawke’s Bay v Wellington

Crossover selection 3
Championship teams chose Premiership opponents for Premiership home games, in seeding order:
Manawatu v Waikato
Wellington v Counties Manukau
Otago v Auckland
Bay of Plenty v Hawke’s Bay
North Harbour v Canterbury
Southland v Taranaki
Northland v Tasman


The key features of the ITM Cup format for 2016 are:

*The 14 teams are divided into two divisions of seven teams (referred to as the Premiership and the Championship), based on finishing position in the 2015 ITM Cup (teams finishing 1-7 will form the Premiership, teams finishing 8-14 will form the Championship);

*In 2016, the ITM Cup will be conducted over an 11-week period and involve: 
One midweek match (with the hosts of the midweek games in 2015 playing their midweek game away in 2016); and for each division, semifinals and a final

*Each team will play every other team in its division once and four crossover matches (in which a team from the Premiership plays a team from the Championship), thus playing 10 competition matches

*All competition matches carry full competition points

*The Ranfurly Shield is automatically contested when the holder of the shield (currently Waikato) plays at home in any round (excluding semis and final)

*The winning team in the final of the Championship will participate in the Premiership in the following year, and the last placed team in the Premiership will participate in the Championship in the following year.

The seedings for the ITM Cup 2016 are as follows:

Counties Manukau
Hawke’s Bay

Bay of Plenty
North Harbour



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