Same old for Taranaki in the NPC cross-over

GLENN MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013

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Taranaki have again missed out on playing North Harbour and Otago in the National Provincial Championship.

The New Zealand Rugby Union yesterday released the details of next season's cross-over draw between the premiership and championship divisions.

Taranaki have not played North Harbour and Otago since 2010.

Instead, Taranaki will travel to Napier to play Hawke's Bay and Whangarei to meet Northland, while they will also host Bay Of Plenty and Southland.

They will play premiership home matches against Canterbury, Counties Manukau and Waikato, while they will have away fixtures against Tasman, Auckland and Wellington.

The formula used to decide the cross-over matches saw one match decided on the final seedings in both divisions from this year's NPC. That meant ninth-placed Hawke's Bay drew sixth-placed Taranaki.

The championship teams then got to pick a premiership team, starting from North Harbour in 14th. Northland were 13th and second pick and opted to host Taranaki.

Taranaki then had to wait for the premiership teams above them to chose a home match from the two opponents left. They opted for Southland.

Bay Of Plenty, who had first pick of the championship sides, then chose Taranaki as their away cross-over match.

Taranaki have now met Southland every year since the cross-over system was introduced in 2011, although the first season was a premiership encounter.

Given North Harbour finished last the past two seasons, and second-to-last in 2011, Taranaki officials could argue the cross-over formula be revisited to allow some teams to play each other at least once every four years.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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