COUNTDOWN TO THE ITM CUP 2011
WITH 14 teams playing 72 matches in 13 rounds over eight weeks, the Ranfurly Shield, and a new competition format with promotion and relegation at stake – this year's ITM Cup is set for an action-packed season when it kicks off on 14th July.
The ITM Cup 2011 season was officially launched by NZRU CEO Steve Tew and ITM CEO Gordon Buswell at a launch event featuring captains and senior players from all 14 ITM Cup teams at Pukekohe's Bayer Growers Stadium.
The competition gets under way with the Otago Razorbacks hosting North Harbour in Dunedin, the Stags and the Mooloos going head to head in Invercargill on Friday 15 July, while on Saturday the Manawatu Turbos take on their neighbours, the Magpies at Palmerston North, Northland's Taniwha will try to spook the Makos in Whangarei, and the Lions head to New Plymouth for their opening clash against the 'Naki.Round one closes out with Auckland hosting Canterbury at Eden Park and the Counties Manukau Steelers hosting the Bay of the Plenty Steamers. The full fixture list for the ITM Cup can be found in our Ultimate Rugby Calendar.
Steve Tew said he was looking forward to the start of the 2011 ITM Cup season. “ITM Cup is a great part of our national identity and provincial pride. It's the launchpad for a lot of New Zealand's rugby talent which is why it's so exciting – you never know who might star, and which teams might pull off the unthinkable.
“This year's revamped ITM Cup in particular, sets the scene for some fantastic provincial rugby rivalry and good old fashioned grudge matches. Canterbury's first Shield defence in round three will be the ultimate grudge match for the Stags who will want to reclaim the Log o'Wood they held for most of last season,” Tew said.
Last year's results determined whether teams were playing in the ITM Cup Premiership or the ITM Cup Championship in this year's ITM Cup.
“Although the teams in the ITM Cup Premiership will be playing for the competition title, and the Championship teams will be playing for promotion next year, the unique format sees every team playing all other teams within their Premiership or Championship, as well as four crossover matches from the other division. That ensures we will get to see plenty of the traditional inter-provincial tribalism and rivalry,” Tew said.
Some rules have been amended to help teams cope with the demands of playing mid-week and weekend rounds to run the competition in a compacted calendar, with the Final to be played a week before the start of Rugby World Cup 2011.
Features of the ITM Cup in 2011:
- All teams will name a 23-man squad (regulations amended to allow an extra front rower on the reserves bench)
- Some teams will stay on the road between some mid-week and weekend fixtures with short turn-around times
- Rugby Park will be Canterbury's ITM Cup base in 2011 with afternoon kick off times for all five of their home games
- Otago play their last home game at Carisbrook in Round 7 and their first at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Round 10
- The Southland Stags get the first Ranfurly Shield Challenge in a South Island derby and grudge match against Canterbury in Round 3.
The ITM Cup Championship Final will be played on Friday 2 September and the ITM Cup and Premiership Final will be played on Saturday 3 September. The return of the Women's National Provincial Championship this year will see the NPC Final being played as a curtain-raiser to the ITM Cup Final, regardless of venue.
BAY OF PLENTY 36 - 8 WAIKATO
ROTORUA INTERNATIONAL STADIUM, ROTORUA - Tuesday 26 July
BAY OF PLENTY T: Toby Arnold (2) John Pareanga, Taniela Moa C: Dan Waenga, Chris Noakes P: Waenga (4)
WAIKATO T: Toby Lynn P: Trent Renata
WELLINGTON 37 - 28 CANTERBURY
WESTPAC STADIUM, WELLINGTON - Wednesday 27 July
WELLINGTON T: Michael Hobbs, Scott Fuglistaller, Victor Vito, Frae Wilson C: Lima Sopoaga (4) P: Sopoaga (3)
CANTERBURY T: Robbie Fruean, Tom Taylor, Nepo Laulala, Ben Funnell C: Taylor, Tyler Bleyendaal (2)
NORTHLAND 16 - 23 TARANAKI
TOLL STADIUM, WHANGAREI - Wednesday 27 July
NORTHLAND T: Aaron Bancroft C: Lachie Munro P: Munro (3)
TARANAKI T: Jayden Hayward, Laurence Corlett, Mahonri Schwalger C: Barrett P: Barrett (2)
WAIKATO 23 - 30 TARANAKI
WAIKATO STADIUM, HAMILTON - Thursday 21 July
WAIKATO T: Toby Smith, Tawera Kerr-Barlow C: Stephen Donald (2) P: Trent Renata (3)
TARANAKI T: Andre Taylor, Jayden Hayward, Chris Walker, Blade Thomson C: Taylor (2) P: Taylor (2)
MANAWATU 30 - 22 NORTHLAND
FMG STADIUM, PALMERSTON NORTH - Saturday 23 July
MANAWATU T: Aseli Tikoirotuma, Johnny Leota, Aaron Smith, Callum Gibbins C: Aaron Cruden (2) P: Aaron Cruden (2)
NORTHLAND T: Jared Payne, Cam Eyre, Lachie Munro C: Munro (2) P: Munro
CANTERBURY 19 - 22 SOUTHLAND
RUGBY PARK, CHRISTCHURCH - Saturday 23 July
CANTERBURY T: Patrick Osborne, Sean Maitland P: Tom Taylor (3)
SOUTHLAND T: Scott Cowan C: James Wilson P: Wilson (4) DG: Wilson
BAY OF PLENTY 38 - 17 NORTH HARBOUR
BAYPARK STADIUM, MT MAUNGANUI - Saturday 23 July
BAY OF PLENTY T: Sam Cane, Ben Smith, Lelia Masaga (2) C: Chris Noakes (3) P: Noakes (4)
NORTH HARBOUR T: Mat Luamanu, Codey Rei C: Ben Botica, Willie Walker P: Botica
WELLINGTON 17 - 21 AUCKLAND
WESTPAC STADIUM, WELLINGTON - Saturday 23 July
WELLINGTON T: Dane Coles, Jeremy Thrush C: Lima Sopoaga (2) P: Sopoaga
AUCKLAND T: Nathan Hughes, Charles Piutau C: Gareth Anscombe P: Anscombe (3)
HAWKE'S BAY 27 - 13 OTAGO
MCLEAN PARK, NAPIER - Sunday 24 July
HAWKE’S BAY T: Sona Taumalolo, Daniel Kirkpatrick, Kahn Fotuali'i C: Andrew Horrell (3) P: Horrell (2)
OTAGO T: Hill C: Dickson P: Dickson (2)
TASMAN 23 - 32 COUNTIES MANUKAU
LANSDOWNE PARK, BLENHEIM - Sunday 24 July
TASMAN T: Joe Wheeler, Mitchell Scott C: Andrew Goodman (2) P: Goodman (3)
COUNTIES MANUKAU T: Ahsee Tuala (2), Sherwin Stowers (2 C: Tasesa Lavea (2), James Semple P: Lavea (2)
NORTH HARBOUR 39 - 15 TASMAN
NORTH HARBOUR STADIUM, ALBANY - Tuesday 19 July
NORTH HARBOUR T: Mat Luamanu (2), David Raikuna, Ken Pisi, Manu Leiataua C: Ben Botica (4) P: Botica (2)
TASMAN T: Robbie Malneek, Mark Bright C: Andrew Goodman P: Goodman
HAWKE'S BAY 29 - 18 SOUTHLAND
MCLEAN PARK, NAPIER - Tuesday 19 July
HAWKE'S BAY T: Chris Eaton, Andrew Horrell C: Horrell (2) P: Horrell (5)
SOUTHLAND T: Robbie Robinson, John Hardie C: Robinson P: Robinson (2)
COUNTIES MANUKAU 32 - 25 MANAWATU
BAYER GROWERS STADIUM, PUKEKOHE - Wednesday 20 July
COUNTIES MANUKAU T: Sherwin Stowers, Reynold Lee-Lo C: James Semple (2) P: Semple (6)
MANAWATU T: Michael Fitzgerald, Aseli Tikoirotuma, Lewis Marshall C: Aaron Cruden (2) P: Cruden (2)
AUCKLAND 25 - 32 OTAGO
EDEN PARK, AUCKLAND - Wednesday 20 July
AUCKLAND T: Joe Rokocoko (2), Pauliasi Manu C: Gareth Anscombe (2) P: Anscombe (2)
OTAGO T: TJ Ioane, Glenn Dickson, Buxton Popoali'i C: Dickson P: Dickson (5)
14th July 2011
Otago 46 - 29 North Harbour
15th July 2011
Southland 9 - 19 Waikato
16th July 2011
Taranaki 5 - 23 Wellington
Manawatu 32 - 23 Hawke's Bay
Northland 19 - 9 Tasman
17th July 2011
Auckland 33 - 40 Canterbury
Counties Manukau 13 - 20 Bay of Plenty