The essential guide to Finals rugby
After 126 matches across the Mitre 10 Cup and Mitre 10 Heartland Championship just four games remain as the 2018 national provincial champions are set to be crowned this weekend.
There are four trophies up for grabs this weekend. Here’s an easy guide to the Finals and everything you need to know.
Auckland v Canterbury
Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final
Eden Park, Auckland, Saturday 27 October, kickoff 4:05pm
- FREE entry!! That’s right – Auckland Rugby and Eden Park are opening the gates free of charge for all fans!
- The winners will claim ultimate bragging rights heading into the summer.
- Auckland are searching for their first title since 2007 and bring good form into this year’s decider.
- Finishing as top qualifier in the Premiership, Auckland beat Canterbury in Christchurch 34-29 in round robin.
- The teams have met 101 times and are evenly poised with 48 wins each and five draws across all encounters.
- Canterbury are familiar with Finals footy, having won nine of the last 10 Finals – the 10th being the year they did not make the finals.
- The Premiership trophy is the original NPC Rugby Cup from 1976, refurbished and returned as the major prize in 2016.
- Auckland have never lost a final it has hosted and Canterbury has never lost one on the road so something will change on Saturday.
- The anthem singers are Le ART who came to New Zealand internet fame in July when their version of the New Zealand anthem captured the attention of the nation in the wake of the Denver League Test anthem fail.
- New Zealand band The Feelers are set to perform at Eden Park prematch and at halftime.
Waikato v Otago
Mitre 10 Cup Championship Final
FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, Friday 26 October, kickoff 7.35pm
- It’s do or die – the winner earning promotion into next year’s Premiership while the winner will be back with Taranaki who have been relegated for next year’s season.
- Waikato claimed the Ranfurly Shield from Taranaki early in the season only for Otago to walk away with it when the teams met in the last match of the regular season. The Shield is safe with Otago for the summer.
- Waikato last won in 2006 while for Otago’s drought stretches back to 1998.
- These teams met in the first NPC Division One final, in 1992, which Waikato won 40-5.
- Waikato’s Sevu Reece is the competition’s leading try scorer with 12 tries, four of which he scored in last weekend’s semifinal. Reece also leads the stats for defenders beaten, clean breaks and offloads.
- Te Awamutu schoolgirl Haley Cole will sing the national anthem.
TIE BREAKER RULES
In the event that teams are tied at the end of a semifinal or final match, the winner will be determined by the following criteria, which shall be applied in the order in which they appear until a result is determined:
a. The winner following a further ten (10) minutes of extra time each way.
b. The team scoring the most tries in the match (including extra time).
c. The winner of the Round Robin match played that year between the two teams.
d. The team having the higher points difference at the end of the Round Robin.
e. The team that scored the most tries in the Round Robin.
f. The team that scored the most points in the Round Robin.
g. The team with the higher Finals Ranking.
South Canterbury v Thames Valley
Mitre 10 Heartland Championship – Meads Cup
Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru, Saturday 27 October, kickoff 1.05pm
- The Meads Cup is set to have a new winner in 2018 with South Canterbury and Thames Valley having never claimed it before.
- Thames Valley will appear in their first final since 1995 which ends the longest drought by any team in domestic play offs, and have advanced by upsetting the defending champions, Wanganui in the semifinals.
- When the team’s met in the regular season, South Canterbury won 33-24.
- South Canterbury have one previous appearance in the Meads Cup Final, a losing effort to Wanganui in 2015. They previously won the Lochore Cup in 2013.
- Thames Valley’s impressive season has seen four players called into the New Zealand Heartland XV, the most representation of any province alongside Wanganui.
Horowhenua Kapiti v Wairarapa Bush
Mitre 10 Heartland Championship – Lochore Cup
Levin Domain, Levin, Sunday 28 October, kickoff 2.35pm
- Neighbours Horowhenua Kapiti and Wairarapa Bush will battle it out for the Lochore Cup.
- Pride will be on the line for Wairarapa Bush, competing for the trophy named after their most famous son, Sir Brian Lochore.
- The teams have met once previously in a Final, with the honours going to Wairarapa Bush in 2005.
- The result in regular season this year when these teams met saw Horowhenua Kapiti take the spoils 37-21.
- For those who believe in good omens, Horowhenua Kapiti’s last title was in the Union’s Centenary year, 1993, this season they have celebrated their 125th jubilee.