The first steps in shaping the draw for the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup are underway with the 14 Provincial Unions making their selections for crossover matches between the Premiership and Championship divisions this week.
Counties Manukau and Bay of Plenty will officially swap places, with the latter promoted into the 2020 Premiership while Counties Manukau will compete for the Championship next season. Each team plays all teams in their division along with four crossover matches against teams in the opposite division.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said while the 2019 season only finished a few weeks ago, provincial unions are already turning their focus to 2020.
“Once again we saw some great rugby in the Mitre 10 Cup, and these crossover matches are always an interesting feature.
“We saw a number of championship teams pushing, and beating, premiership teams in 2019, so the selections that Union’s make form an integral part of their upcoming season.
“The Unions have been asked to provide feedback on the season and we will look to see if improvements can be made as we look towards next year’s competition,” said Cass.
Representatives from all 14 teams met this week for the annual crossover selection picks. CEOs and team management take part in the selection process, with each team picking one home and one away fixture, their two other crossover matches are selected by the opposition.
The four rounds of picks took place as follows (home team listed first, and teams making selection in bold):
The first round of picks are selected by Premiership teams in reverse order of seeding. These games will be played as home games for the Championship teams;
Counties Manukau v Wellington
Hawke’s Bay v Canterbury
Manawatu v Bay of Plenty
Northland v Waikato
Otago v Tasman
Southland v North Harbour
Taranaki v Auckland
The second round of picks are selected by Championship teams in reverse order of seeding. These games will be played as home games for the Championship teams;
Counties Manukau v Tasman
Hawke’s Bay v Wellington
Manawatu v Canterbury
Northland v North Harbour
Otago v Auckland
Southland v Waikato
Taranaki v Bay of Plenty
The third round of picks are selected by Premiership teams in order of seeding. These games will be played as home games for the Premiership teams;
Auckland v Northland
Bay of Plenty v Hawke’s Bay
Canterbury v Otago
North Harbour v Counties Manukau
Tasman v Southland
Waikato v Taranaki
Wellington v Manawatu
The fourth round of picks are selected by Championship Teams in order of seeding. These games will be played as home games for the Premiership Teams;
Auckland v Manawatu
Bay of Plenty v Southland
Canterbury v Taranaki
North Habour v Hawke’s Bay
Tasman v Northland
Waikato v Counties Manukau
Wellington v Otago
New Zealand Rugby now captures these selections as part of the draw construction for 2020. The draw will be released next year.