NPC cross-over matches announced by NZRU
Six-time defending NPC champions Canterbury will face all three South Island rivals next season, as the NZRU announced cross-over fixtures on Friday.
Canterbury will face last season's NPC Championship winners Tasman as part of their six Premiership matches, while they will play Championship sides Southland and Otago after provinces made their match-up selections this week.
In the first round of selections, Otago opted to face Canterbury at home, avoiding Wellington and Auckland. In the second round, Canterbury chose Championship semifinalists Southland at home.
Canterbury, champions since 2008, will also face Championship sides North Harbour (away) and Northland (home).
Tasman and Hawke's Bay will also meet in a repeat of the NPC Championship final after the Magpies were the last remaining team in the second round of picks. Tasman, making their first appearance in the Premiership, will also face Bay of Plenty, Southland and Otago in cross-over matches.
Next year's competition retains the nine week round robin, with semifinals and Finals making up the 11-week competition. The rounds also include some mid-week fixtures to be played on Wednesday nights.
Provincial union representatives met recently to make their picks for opposition in cross-over matches between Premiership and Championship teams.
The selections will see the following fixtures played during the season, however when they will be played will not be confirmed until the draw is released in February.
The 2014 NPC kicks off on Thursday, August 14.
Also, Counties Manukau's first two Ranfurly Shield defences have also been confirmed. Both played at Pukekohe Stadium, Counties will host Lochore Cup champions Thames Valley on Wednesday, July 2, and Meads Cup champions Mid Canterbury on Wednesday, July 9.
NPC CROSSOVER MATCHES
1) The Automatic crossover matches already determined by the 2013 finishing order (host province listed first) are:
North Harbour vs Canterbury
Northland vs Wellington
Manawatu vs Auckland
Southland vs Counties Manukau
Otago vs Waikato
Hawke's Bay vs Taranaki
Bay of Plenty vs Tasman
The three other crossover games (per team) have been picked by the provinces as follows:
2) 1st round of picks: Championship teams picked a Premiership team, in reverse seeding order (eg, 14th to 8th), for a home Championship match:
North Harbour vs Waikato
Northland vs Taranaki
Manawatu vs Counties Manukau
Southland vs Tasman
Otago vs Canterbury
Hawke's Bay vs Wellington
Bay of Plenty vs Auckland
3) 2nd round of picks: Premiership teams picked a Championship team, in seeding order (eg 1st to 7th), for a home Premiership match:
Canterbury vs Southland
Wellington vs North Harbour
Auckland vs Northland
Counties Manukau vs Otago
Waikato vs Manawatu
Taranaki vs Bay of Plenty
Tasman vs Hawke's Bay
4) Final round of picks: Championship teams picked a Premiership team, in seeding order (eg. 8th to 14th), for an away Championship match (note the second team hosts the match):
Waikato vs Bay of Plenty
Counties Manukau vs Hawke's Bay
Tasman vs Otago
Taranaki vs Southland
Wellington vs Manawatu
Canterbury vs Northland
Auckland vs North Harbour