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Pink Batts Heartland Championship draw released

allblacks.com

allblacks.com     21 Mar 2013     allblacks.com

Download a copy of the 2013 Pink Batts Heartland Championship draw.

View the 2013 Pink Batts Heartland Championship structure.

Last year’s Meads Cup victors East Coast will continue their fairytale ride into the new season, hosting a Ranfurly Shield challenge against Waikato at home at Whakarua Park in Ruatoria on 30 July.

Horowhenua Kapiti will get the first challenge, hosting their bid for the treasured ‘Log ‘o ‘Wood’ in Morrinsville on 17 July.

The Pink Batts Heartland Championship opening round sees four traditional rivals compete for bragging rights in 2013, with Wanganui hosting King Country at Cooks Gardens. West Coast host Buller at Rugby Park in Greymouth, with those two teams playing for pride, competition points and the Rundle Cup (1911) one of New Zealand’s oldest provincial rugby prizes.

New Zealand Rugby General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said the competition was jam-packed with local derbies and time-honoured rivalries.

“One of the best things about the Pink Batts Heartland Championship is that this is where provincial passion and local pride help to bring whole communities together. We love nothing better than to get behind our local team.

“This competition brings out fun, epic encounters and the best of provincial rivalry in people,” he said.

Three trophies are up for grabs when South Canterbury and North Otago meet in Week 2. They will play for the Bill Direen Cup, Phil Gard Trophy and the Hannan Shield. Other trophies to be contested include the Centurions Cup between King Country and Thames Valley (Week 4), the Arthur Wickes Memorial Cup between West Coast and East Coast (Week 5), the Mark Timblick Trophy and Hannan Shield contested between Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury (Week 5), the Sayers Cup with East Coast and Poverty Bay (Week 6) and the Smiley Haua Memorial Trophy between East Coast and South Canterbury (Week 8).

The Pink Batts Heartland Championship structure applied in 2012, will remain the same in 2013, with the Meads Cup and Lochore Cup semifinals played on 19 October between the top eight placed teams. The Finals for both Cups will be played over the weekend of 26 and 27 October, ensuring a weekend festival of Finals footy with the ITM Cup Championship, Premiership and Women's Provincial Championship Finals all scheduled for the same weekend.