Air New Zealand Cup


Air New Zealand Cup

Infobox sports league
logo=Air_New_Zealand_Cup_Logo.jpg|206px
caption=Competition logo
current_season=2008 Air New Zealand Cup
sport=Rugby union
founded=2006
teams=14
country=NZL
champion= Auckland
The Air New Zealand Cup is New Zealand's professional domestic rugby union competition. It was founded in 2006 with 14 teams, after the NPC was split into two separate competitions. The other 12 provincial teams from the NPC now compete in the amateur Heartland Championship. New Zealand also has five teams in Super 14, an elite competition which also involves sides from Australia and South Africa.

Format

The Air New Zealand Cup is held annually. 14 provincial teams participate, and they each play ten round-robin games; this means that each side misses playing three others. Table points are earned for winning, drawing, losing by seven points or less, and by scoring four or more tries (see rugby union bonus points system). The top eight teams at the end of the round robin then play a quarter-finals round, followed by semi-finals, and then the final.cite web| url=http://www.superbru.com/airnzcup/news.asp?id=121 |title=Welcome to SuperBru Air NZ Cup! |publisher=superbru.com |accessdate=2007-08-31]

History

The 2006 reorganisation of New Zealand provincial rugby replaced the NPC's former three-division setup with two distinct competitions. This differs from the original two-division setup used in the NPC from its creation in 1976 through 1984 in two key ways. First, the two current competitions are nationwide, while the original NPC Division Two was split on a North Island/South Island basis. Second, the NZRU ruled that there would initially be no promotion or relegation between the Air New Zealand Cup and Heartland Championship—a feature that had always been present in the former NPC.

Also, the number of teams was reduced to 26, as the Marlborough and Nelson Bays unions merged to form the new Tasman union.

The 2006 expansion of the Super 12 and Tri Nations Series had a major effect on the Air New Zealand Cup. This expansion created the Super 14, adding two extra fixtures to that competition, and also added two more Tri-Nations matches for the All Blacks, at least in non-World Cup years. Because of these changes, it was intended for players in the All Blacks selection pool to make only limited appearances in the Air New Zealand Cup.

On August 11, 2008 the New Zealand Rugby Union initially announced that Tasman and Northland would both be relegated from the Air New Zealand Cup after the completion of the 2008 season. Both teams failed to meet criteria which included financial stability, population, player training and development, playing history, and administration. This decision was reversed towards the end of the 2008 season, with Tasman and Northland remaining in the competition for two more years http://www.stuff.co.nz/4707075a1823.html]

Air New Zealand Cup teams

The following teams contest the Air New Zealand Cup:

*Includes NPC First Division championships

Air New Zealand Cup winners

ee also

*2006 Air New Zealand Cup
*2007 Air New Zealand Cup
*2008 Air New Zealand Cup
*Heartland Championship
*List of attendance figures at domestic professional sports leagues — the Air New Zealand Cup and NPC in a worldwide context
*National Provincial Championship
*Ranfurly Shield

References

External links

* [http://www.allblacks.com/airnewzealandcup/ Air New Zealand Cup official website]
* [http://www.primerugby.com/airnewzealandcup/ Air New Zealand Cup News from Prime Rugby]
* [http://www.ANZRugby.com ANZ Rugby News]
* [http://www.NPCRugby.com NPC Rugby News]
* [http://files.allblacks.com/AirNZ_cup_2006_comp_structure.pdf Summary of the 2006 Air New Zealand Cup format at allblacks.com] (PDF)
* [http://www.nzvirtualsport.co.nz Virtual Air NZ Cup Game]


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