National Provincial Championship

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National Provincial Championship
Npc.jpg
Competition logo
Sport Rugby union
Founded 1976
Country  New Zealand
Most recent champion(s) CanterburyColours.png Canterbury

The National Provincial Championship, or NPC, was the major domestic rugby competition in New Zealand. The NPC saw many alterations to its format and brand. Since 2006, it has been replaced by two competitions, the ITM Cup (originally the Air New Zealand Cup) and the Heartland Championship. From the 2011 Season, the top Division was split into two tiers based on the 2010 Table after Pool Play. Teams 1-7 were assigned to the Premiership and teams 8-14 to the Championship. There is automatic Promotion/Relegation between the two tiers and also "crossover" matches, as well as full Round Robin Matches within each tier. The Heartland Championship is also split into two tiers after pool play with the top tier playing for the Meads Cup and bottom tier playing for the Lochore Cup. Currently all 26 of New Zealand's Provincial Unions participate in either the Air New Zealand Cup or Heartland Championship. The NPC was first contested in 1976, and although the basic format of Division One was much the same from then until the 2006 reorganisation, there were a number of changes to the lower divisions.

The former NPC logo

Initially, Division One was made up of 11 teams, 7 from the North Island and 4 from the South. The remaining unions contested a split Division Two, with teams from each island playing amongst themselves. The bottom placed Division One team from the South Island played the winner of the Southern Division Two to determine whether they switched divisions, whilst the bottom placed Division One team from the North Island was automatically relegated, switching places with the winner of the Northern Division Two.

The format continued until 1985, when the split Division Two was replaced by a united Division Two and a Division Three. The top and bottom placed teams in each division were automatically promoted and relegated each year.

In 1992, three teams from Division One were relegated so there were 9 teams in each division. Also, 1992 saw the introduction of semi-finals and a final to determine the champion in each division—previously, a league system had been used.

Auckland were the most successful team in the NPC championship, having won 15 of the 30 series.

The only change before 2006 was in 1998, when the number of teams in each division was changed to 10 in Division One, 9 in Division Two, and 8 in Division Three. Having an even number of teams in Division One removed the necessity for byes. Starting that year, automatic promotion/relegation between the top two divisions was ended. In its place, the winner of Division Two played a promotion-relegation match against the bottom club in Division One to determine whether the clubs would switch places. Through 2002, this match was hosted by the bottom team in Division One, but the site was changed in 2003 to the home field of the Division Two champion.

NPC teams, 2005[edit]

The NPC divisions prior to the reorganisation of the competitions in 2006 consisted of:

First Division[edit]

The champion was Auckland, who defeated Otago in the final.

All 10 teams in First Division were elevated to the Air New Zealand Cup in 2006.

Second Division[edit]

The champion was Hawke's Bay, who defeated Nelson Bays for the Second Division title.

Hawke's Bay, Counties Manukau and Manawatu were elevated to the Air New Zealand Cup as intact teams. Nelson Bays and Marlborough merged to form the new Tasman side in the Air New Zealand Cup. East Coast, North Otago, Poverty Bay and Wanganui entered the new Heartland Championship.

Third Division[edit]

The champion was Wairarapa Bush, which defeated Horowhenua-Kapiti in the final.

All Third Division teams joined the Heartland Championship in 2006.

Past NPC winners[edit]

Year First Division Winner Second Division Winner
North Island South Island
1976 Bopcolours.png Bay of Plenty Naki.png Taranaki Scantab.png South Canterbury
1977 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury NLTaniwha.png North Auckland Scantab.png South Canterbury
1978 Wellington Lions colours.png Wellington Bopcolours.png Bay of Plenty MarlboroughRU.png Marlborough
1979 CountiesAirNZ.png Counties Manukau Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay MarlboroughRU.png Marlborough
1980 Turbos.png Manawatu Waikato colours, Air NZ Cup.png Waikato Mcantab.png Mid Canterbury
1981 Wellington Lions colours.png Wellington Wbush.png Wairarapa Bush Scantab.png South Canterbury
1982 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Naki.png Taranaki Southland.png Southland
1983 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury Naki.png Taranaki Mcantab.png Mid Canterbury
1984 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Naki.png Taranaki Southland.png Southland
Year First Division Winner Second Division Winner Third Division Winner
1985 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Naki.png Taranaki Harbour.png North Harbour
1986 Wellington Lions colours.png Wellington Waikato colours, Air NZ Cup.png Waikato Scantab.png South Canterbury
1987 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Harbour.png North Harbour Povertybay.png Poverty Bay
1988 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay Thamesvalley.png Thames Valley
1989 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Southland.png Southland Whanganuicolors.png Wanganui
1990 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay Thamesvalley.png Thames Valley
1991 Otagorugby.png Otago Kcountry.png King Country Scantab.png South Canterbury
1992 Waikato colours, Air NZ Cup.png Waikato Naki.png Taranaki Nelsonbays.png Nelson Bays
1993 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland CountiesAirNZ.png Counties Manukau Hkapiti.png Horowhenua
1994 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Southland.png Southland Mcantab.png Mid Canterbury
1995 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Naki.png Taranaki Thamesvalley.png Thames Valley
1996 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Southland.png Southland Whanganuicolors.png Wanganui
1997 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury NLTaniwha.png Northland MarlboroughRU.png Marlborough
1998 Otagorugby.png Otago Centralvikings.png Central Vikings Mcantab.png Mid Canterbury
1999 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Nelsonbays.png Nelson Bays Ecoast.png East Coast
2000 Wellington Lions colours.png Wellington Bopcolours.png Bay of Plenty Ecoast.png East Coast
2001 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay Scantab.png South Canterbury
2002 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay Northotago.png North Otago
2003 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay Whanganuicolors.png Wanganui
2004 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury Nelsonbays.png Nelson Bays Povertybay.png Poverty Bay
2005 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay Wbush.png Wairarapa Bush
Year Air NZ Cup Winner Heartland Championship Winner
Meads Cup Lochore Cup
2006 Waikato colours, Air NZ Cup.png Waikato Wbush.png Wairarapa Bush Povertybay.png Poverty Bay
2007 Auckland colours, Air NZ Cup.png Auckland Northotago.png North Otago Povertybay.png Poverty Bay
2008 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury Whanganuicolors.png Wanganui Povertybay.png Poverty Bay
2009 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury Whanganuicolors.png Wanganui Northotago.png North Otago
Year ITM Cup Winner Heartland Championship Winner
Meads Cup Lochore Cup
2010 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury Northotago.png North Otago Wbush.png Wairarapa Bush
Year ITM Cup Winner Heartland Championship Winner
Premiership Championship Meads Cup Lochore Cup
2011 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury Hawkes Bay Air NZ Cup colours.png Hawke's Bay Whanganuicolors.png Wanganui Povertybay.png Poverty Bay
2012 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury CountiesAirNZ.png Counties Manukau Ecoast.png East Coast Buller.png Buller
2013 CanterburyColours.png Canterbury File:TasmanAirNZ.pngTasman Mcantab.png Mid Canterbury Scantab.png South Canterbury

Note: From 1976 to 1984 there was no third division, and also the second division was divided into North and South Island competitions. From 1985 to 2005, there were three divisions, all organised on a nationwide basis. From 2006 onward there are 2 divisions of the National Championship, the ITM Cup (Air New Zealand Cup from 2006 through 2009) and Heartland Championship. From 2011 onwards, the top Division was split into 2 tiers, based on the 2010 Table afer Round Robin play. Teams 1-7 were assigned to the Premiership and teams 8-14 to the Championship, with Promotion/Relegation between the two. The Heartland Championship is split into two tiers after pool play with the top tier playing for the Meads Cup and bottom tier playing for the Lochore Cup.

See also[edit]