Women's Provincial Championship Week One Preview

Getty Images     23 Aug 2014     Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby President Ian MacRae welcomed the competition after a big year for the Women's game.

"New Zealand rugby gets its strength from provincial rugby and it is heartening to see this competition expanding yet again in 2014, with nine teams in action.

"There were seven teams in 2012, eight in 2013 and nine this year – Bay of Plenty have signed up for the first time since 2005 while Hawke’s Bay have returned to the WPC after missing the 2013 season.

"It’s great to see more women playing at the first class level and to see some of New Zealand’s classic provincial rivalries continued in this arena. We’re looking forward to seeing more of the exciting, fast-paced rugby that has come to characterise the women’s game as well as the up-and-coming talent footing it alongside the stars of our national teams.

"2014 has been a big year for women’s rugby. While the Black Ferns did not extend their Women’s Rugby World Cup run in France, four strong performances by that team in the International Women’s Rugby Series and the Women’s Sevens team securing their second consecutive World Series trophy provide cause for optimism and a strong platform for the future.

"Auckland claimed their sixth title in a row in 2013, having won every tournament except one (in 2006 they went down to Wellington in the Final) since the official women’s provincial competition kicked off in 1999.

"However, the Storm’s loss to Otago meant that the JJ Stewart trophy left the cabinet for the first time since 1995, re-igniting interest in the women’s rugby equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield and we look forward to seeing the trophy on the line again when current holders Canterbury defend it in the second round."

At a glance:

The Women’s Provincial Championship will consist of a Round Robin with all teams playing in a single pool, followed by a Final.

The two Provincial Unions with the highest number of competition points at the completion of the Round Robin will proceed to the Final, and be ranked as follows:

• The Provincial Union with the highest number of competition points at the completion of the Round Robin will have a finals ranking of 1.
• The Provincial Union with the next-highest number of competition points at the completion of the Round Robin will be ranked 2.

Based on the Finals Rankings the Final will be played as follows:
1 plays 2.

The winning finalist will be awarded the Women’s Provincial Championship trophy.

Previous winners:

1999 Auckland beat Wellington
2000 Auckland beat Otago
2001 Auckland beat Wellington
2002 Auckland beat Wellington
2003 Auckland beat Wellington
2004 Auckland beat Canterbury
2005 Auckland beat Canterbury
2006 Wellington beat Auckland
2007 Auckland beat Otago
2008 Auckland beat Canterbury
2009 Auckland beat Canterbury
2011 Auckland beat Wellington
2012 Auckland beat Canterbury
2013 Auckland beat Canterbury

Week One:

Saturday 23 August, 1.30pm at Tremain Field, Napier
Played: 3, 2002-2012 | Hawke's Bay wins: 2 | Waikato wins: 1
Last match: Waikato 34 Hawke's Bay 24, 08.09.12 in Napier (WPC)
Last Hawke's Bay win: Hawke's Bay 32 Waikato 20, 03.09.03 in Napier (WPC)
Biggest Hawke's Bay score: 32 (32-20), 03.09.03 in Napier (WPC)
Biggest Waikato score: 34 (34-24), 08.09.12 in Napier (WPC)
Biggest differential: Hawke's Bay by 12 (34-24), 08.09.12 in Napier (WPC)

Saturday 23 August, 2.10pm at ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe
Played: 3, 1999-2013 | Auckland wins: 3 | Counties Manukau wins: 0
Last match: Auckland 18 Counties Manukau 12, 24.09.13 in Auckland (WPC)
Last Counties Manukau win: -
Biggest Auckland score: 53 (53-12), 2000
Biggest Counties Manukau score: 12 (12-53), 2000 and (12-18), 24.09.13 in Auckland (WPC)
Biggest differential: Auckland by 51 (51-0), 1999

Saturday 23 August, 3.15pm at Rotorua International Stadium
Played: 2, 2001-2002 | Bay of Plenty wins: 1 | Otago wins: 1
Last match: Bay of Plenty 15 Otago 13, 31.08.02 in Rotorua (WPC)
Last Otago win: Otago 26 Bay of Plenty 7, 25.08.01 in Dunedin (WPC)
Biggest Bay of Plenty score: 15 (15-13), 31.08.02 in Rotorua (WPC)
Biggest Otago score: 26 (26-7), 25.08.01 in Dunedin (WPC)
Biggest differential: Otago by 19 (26-7), 25.08.01 in Dunedin (WPC)

Sunday 24 August, 12.00pm at FMG Stadium, Palmerston North
Played: 9, 1999-2013 | Wellington wins: 6 | Manawatu wins: 3
Last match: Manawatu 25 Wellington 12, 14.09.13 in Petone (WPC)
Last Wellington win: Wellington 58 Manawatu 8, 13.08.11 in Wellington (WPC)
Biggest Wellington score: 61 (61-0), 2000
Biggest Manawatu score: 43 (43-31), 13.10.12 in Palmerston North (WPC)
Biggest differential: Wellington by 61 (61-0), 2000