|ITM Cup Unions have today chosen their opposition for compulsory crossover match-ups between Premiership and Championship teams.Representatives from each of the 14 teams made the selections by webinar and teleconference today, which will see four of the ITM Cup rounds in 2015 featuring crossover fixtures with full competition points up for grabs.
With 2014 final positions determining the seeding order for the next season, the first round was automatically selected on seeding order.
While the crossover match-ups have been confirmed, the scheduling will not be confirmed until February next year.
The selections were based on the summer guardians of the Ranfurly Shield, the Hawke’s Bay Magpies, being the holders of the Shield at the time of the fixture.
New Zealand Rugby General Manager Rugby Neil Sorensen said the 2014 season had been entertaining, thrilling at times, and often had people on the edge of their seats as results were only determined in the dying minutes of a game.
“One the best features of this year’s ITM Cup competition, has been the notion that any team, could win anywhere, anytime, and often against any odds.
“We saw some highly entertaining and great footy this year, and as many of the results panned out, the assumed underdogs would often turn the tables on their opponents to steal, or almost steal, a win.
“This year, several Unions took the opportunity to canvas their fans to see who they thought their teams should choose. Some were aligned with their coaches’ choices, and some were at the other end.
“It was great to see the Unions reaching out to their fans for feedback who had plenty to say, and it was good to see some getting into the spirit of friendly rivalry by stacking their other team’s fan feedback to suit their own team!
“Congratulations to all teams and their fans – the resurgence in support for the traditionally smaller Unions has been really encouraging.
“We know that a large number of players earned their first full time Super Rugby contracts on the back of spectacular ITM Cup seasons in 2014.
“It’s always exciting watching future talent stepping out for the first time in a semi-professional competition. We wish all teams well as they prepare for the 2015 season,” Sorensen said.
New Zealand Rugby will now begin work on the draw for 2015, which will be announced by mid-February next year.
CROSSOVER SELECTION ROUNDS
Bay of Plenty v Taranaki
Provincial Union Selection Rounds
CROSSOVER SELECTION 1:
Bay of Plenty v Waikato
CROSSOVER SELECTION 2: Premiership team chooses Championship opponent for premiership home game:
Taranaki v Otago
CROSSOVER SELECTION 3: Championship team chooses premiership opponent, with Premiership team at home.
Taranaki v Wellington
2015 ITM Cup Draw Format
• the 14 teams are divided into two divisions of seven teams (referred to as the Premiership and the Championship), based on finishing position in the 2014 ITM Cup (teams finishing 1-7 will form the Premiership, teams finishing 8-14 will form the Championship);
The 2014 ITM Cup results have determined the seeding order for the 2015 competition.