Auckland and Otago given top seeding in new competition
November 4, 2005

This year's first division NPC finalists Auckland and Otago head the two pools in the new premier division rugby competition next season.

The professional competition featuring 14 teams will be known as the Air New Zealand Cup and will kick off on the weekend of July 28-30, with the final scheduled for Labour weekend, October 21.

The new lower amateur Division One competition with 12 teams starts on August 19-20.

Auckland, this year's champions, head pool A with North Harbour, Wellington, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, Tasman and Manawatu being the other teams in the pool.

Otago have Canterbury, Southland, Waikato, Northland, Hawke's Bay and Counties Manukau in pool B.
Each team will play each other in their pool in round one of the competition, after which the top six teams from the two pools will be ranked and moved into a competition of their own. However, in the second round they will not meet the teams they had played in the first round, but their points from round one will be carried forward.
The bottom eight will be divided into two repechage pools and they will start a fresh competition in their own pools.

The top team in each repechage pool will qualify for the quarterfinals, along with the top six and the playoff fixtures will be as usual -- with No 1 meeting No 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6 and 4 v 5.
Every point and try will count in the two new competitions which will help determine rankings and draw after the first round.
New Zealand Rugby Union deputy chief executive Steve Tew said the pools for the new competitions were based on seedings at the end of this year's NPC.

"While we have finalised the draw as far as who plays who and where, we are still discussing the exact days and kicks off times with the provincial unions and our broadcast partner, Sky Television." he said.

In pool A Tasman will host North Harbour, Manawatu will be at home to Auckland and Taranaki meet Wellington in New Plymouth in the opening round of the competition.
Hawke's Bay meet Canterbury in Napier, Counties Manukau host Otago and Northland meet Southland at Whangarei in pool B.

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