Stags to take on Taranaki

Southland will take on premiership teams Taranaki, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Counties Manukau in next year's national provincial championships.

The selections for the four cross-over pool games in the NPC, which are combined with the six games against fellow championship teams, were made this afternoon via web conference.

Southland's fourth placing in this year's championship gave it an automatic home game against fourth-placed premiership team Taranaki.

With it's first pick, a decision on which premiership team it chose to play at home, Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley opted for Ranfurly Shield holders Waikato, although the log of wood would not be up for grabs.In the second round, Bay of Plenty opted for a home game against Southland with Tasman as it only other option.

In the third round, Hopley picked newly-promoted Counties Manukau for an away game, with beaten finalist Auckland, defending champion Canterbury and Wellington.

The final draw for the NPC will be made public early next year. The Stags will get a chance to pick some of their cross-over opponents for next year's national provincial championship this afternoon.

The Southland Times