Image credit and caption: Getty Images, Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse Premiership 2021 Final – Canterbury v Waikato
Domestic rugby season preparations are in full swing with the 2022 season draws announced for the Bunnings Warehouse NPC, Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) presented by Bunnings Warehouse and the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship.
The new Bunnings Warehouse NPC format, featuring all 14 teams playing for one title for the first time since 2010, kicks off on Friday 5 August with Manawatū playing Canterbury in Palmerston North.
The new format was announced in February and sees teams placed into two pools made up of teams with seedings based on the previous season’s standings. Odd numbered teams will be in one pool, and even number teams will be in the other with four crossover matches.
After a disruptive 2021 season, Auckland, Counties Manukau, and North Harbour return after withdrawing from last year’s competition due to COVID-19 restrictions. Auckland kick off their campaign with the Battle of the Bridge match against North Harbour in week one of the competition at Eden Park on Saturday 6 August at 7.05PM.
Ranfurly Shield holders Hawke’s Bay have five scheduled defences at McLean Park in Napier, starting with Counties Manukau on Friday 12 August at 7.05PM.
The Bunnings Warehouse FPC Premiership kicks off at 12.05pm on Saturday 16 July with Wellington playing Canterbury at Porirua Park in Wellington. Defending champions Waikato kick off their season at 4.35pm on the same day against last year’s FPC Championship winner and newly promoted Manawatū.
All Bunnings Warehouse NPC and FPC matches will be broadcast live and exclusive on Sky.
Following a unique season in 2021, which included All Blacks great Ma’a Nonu playing for East Coast and current All Blacks captain Sam Cane taking the field for King Country, the Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship will kick off in Westport on 20 August where Buller will play Mid-Canterbury. The Bill Osborne Taonga, introduced in 2021, will be defended for the first time by Poverty Bay, who will play Wairarapa Bush on 27 August at Rugby Park in Gisborne
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Community Rugby Steve Lancaster is looking forward to the domestic rugby season kicking off and hoping for minimal disruptions to teams this year.
“The 2021 season was a challenging one for domestic rugby, especially those teams in the Auckland region due to the extended COVD restrictions. It will be great to kick off the 2022 season with a new format for the Bunnings Warehouse NPC and all 14 teams on the field from the opening round.
“The FPC will be part of a huge year for women and girls rugby and I think we will see our players inspired by the Rugby World Cup being in Aotearoa and the impact that will have on rugby and New Zealand over the coming months.”
Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse – to view the full draw click here
The Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse, sees a seven-week round robin, with the top four Premiership teams and top four Championship teams playing in semi-finals on 2 – 4 September. The following weekend will see the respective finalists play off for the Premiership and Championship titles.
Premiership teams this season are Waikato, Canterbury, Auckland, Wellington, Counties Manukau, Bay of Plenty and Manawatū. The Championship teams are Otago, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, North Harbour, Northland, and Tasman.
Bunnings Warehouse NPC – to view the full draw click here
The Bunnings Warehouse NPC sees teams seeded into two conferences based on the previous season’s standings following the round-robin matches and quarterfinals. Teams placed 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 will play in the Odds conference and teams placed 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 will play in the Evens conference in 2022. The round-robin includes four crossover matches per team, where teams from the Odds conference will play teams from the Evens conference.
Odds teams this season are Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Otago, Southland, and Counties Manukau. Evens teams this season include Tasman, Canterbury, Auckland, Taranaki, Manawatū, North Harbour and Northland.
The 12-team Bunnings Warehouse Heartland Championship features an eight-week round robin with the top four teams going through to the Meads Cup semi-finals and the next four teams going through to the Lochore Cup semi-finals. Both finals are scheduled for the weekend of 22-23 October. Defending Meads Cup Champions South Canterbury kick off the season against Thames Valley and Lochore Cup holders Whanganui play West Coast in Greymouth in Round One.