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Provincial Unions to select crossover matches for 2013 ITM Cup

allblacks.com     14 Nov 2012    

Coaches from all 14 provinces in the competition are in Wellington tomorrow for a two-day workshop and they will take part in the web-conference while in Wellington.

The Chief Executives from all 14 teams will also take part in the conference to select three of the four crossover matches between ITM Cup Premiership and ITM Cup Championship teams in 2013.

The first of the crossover matches has already been determined based on seedings after this year's competition. The other three cross over matches will be selected during the web-conference.

Teams ranked 1st to 7th at the end of the 2012 season, will play next year's ITM Cup in the Premiership, including this year's Championship winners Counties Manukau, who are replaced in the Championship by the Hawke's Bay Magpies after they finished last in the Premiership.

Teams ranked 8th to 14th at the end of this season - including the relegated Magpies - will play in the ITM Cup Championship. Every team will play every other province within their Premiership / Championship as well as four 'crossover' matches which carry full competition points.

NZRU General Manager of Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said the quality of rugby had been particularly entertaining in 2012, and the traditional rivalries continue to create exciting match-ups with unpredictable results.

"We saw some great matches including some very spirited Ranfurly Shield challenges which Taranaki managed to repel for most of the season until Waikato got their turn, and they have now locked away the log o' wood for the summer," Sorensen said.

"Although they won't know when in the season the crossover matches will be played, I'm sure there will be interest in the possible Shield challenges in the second and third rounds of selections," he said.

"The crossover matches are a great way for teams to test themselves and each other - we also know that on this year's form Counties should add a real spark to the Premiership in 2013," Sorensen said.

The four crossover matches for each province (two home / two away) will be announced tomorrow following the web-conference. The scheduling of these matches will be confirmed when the draw is finalised by early next year.