NZRU announces new 10-team Premier Division

Discussion in 'ITM (NPC) Cup' started by Flux, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. Flux

    Flux Guest

    Four of this season's Air New Zealand Cup sides won't be playing in the top division next year following the release of the new domestic rugby structure by the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) today.

    From next season a 10-team Premier Division, a six-team Division One and a 10-team Heartland competition will be in place, with automatic promotion and relegation between the top two divisions.

    The new competitions were adopted by the NZRU board at the weekend following a series of workshops involving New Zealand's 26 provincial unions, Super 14 franchises and the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association.

    "We had a very clear message from our provincial unions earlier this year that change was necessary and that we needed to act quickly and decisively," said NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs.

    "With the support and involvement of our provincial unions we have done that and believe this structure is one which meets the competition principles which New Zealand's rugby collective decided were important."

    The key principles of the new competition are:

    - Super Rugby players must be included
    - It should have a stand-alone window (which also recognises the windows for club rugby and Super rugby)
    - There is a full round-robin and playoffs
    - It has promotion and relegation
    - It guarantees four or five home games per team
    - Must be completed with a 10-12 week window and
    - Must be concluded by the end of October

    NZRU CEO Steve Tew confirmed the new competition fitted those principles as well as creating a national finals day across all three competitions.

    He also said further consideration will be given to promotion-relegation between the new Division One competition and the Heartland competition.

    And the financial issues which have affected unions like Tasman and Counties Manukau last season are also going to have a major impact on who plays in which of the divisions.

    Each club wanting to participate in the Premier Division will have to undergo a solvency test and will be assessed via criteria agreed to by all participating teams in this year's Air New Zealand Cup.

    "There is a real incentive for provincial unions to perform both on and off the field in 2009 as these results will be part of the assessment criteria," said Tew.

    "Similarly, for those provinces that do play in Division One in 2010 there is a pathway back via promotion-relegation."

    The examination of the on- and off-field results will take place in November with the results set to be announced in December of this year.

    And while there was potential for both provincial unions and their supporters to be concerned about the future of their team, Tew was mindful of the requirement to act now and create certainty going forward for all provincial unions.

    One the assessments are completed Tew has said the NZRU will work closely with the affected unions, including any from the Heartland Championship seeking inclusion into Division One, to ensure the competition is 'meaningful, sustainable, attractive and aspirational'.

    Full details of the new domestic rugby structure:

    At its meeting on July 18, 2009, the NZRU Board agreed to a new domestic competition structure for New Zealand.

    This would feature the following elements:

    A Premier Division comprising 10 teams with a round robin, semis and a final and automatic promotion/relegation between the Premier and Division One competitions;

    A Division One competition comprised of six teams with four teams being those teams ranked 11 to 14 from the current Air New Zealand Cup competition and two teams coming up from the Heartland Competition. This would be played using a home and away format with a final. The winner of the Final being automatically promoted;

    A Heartland competition which would comprise 10 teams with a round robin, semis and a final. Further consideration is to be given to whether there should be promotion-relegation between the Heartland competition and Division one and if so, what form it will take.

    Competition Structure

    Premier Division:
    10 Teams
    Round Robin with Semis and Final
    4 or 5 home matches
    Semi-finals and final playoffs
    Automatic promotion/relegation between 10th team and Division One final winners

    Division One:
    6 Teams (4 from existing Air New Zealand Cup and 2 from existing Heartland Championship)
    Home and away with Final
    5 home matches
    No semi-finals given there are only six teams who will have played each other twice already
    Automatic promotion to the Premier Division for finals winner

    10 Teams
    Round Robin with Semis and Final
    4 or 5 home matches
    Promotion-relegation to be considered further.

    Competition Windows (2010)

    Games will start on Saturday August 14 and the finals day for all competitions will be on Saturday October 23.

    Domestic Competitions Structure Review and Implementation Timeline:

    May 22 2009: Air New Zealand Cup workshop to discuss competitions structure
    June 19 2009: NZRU Board endorses competition principles from workshop
    June 20 2009: Provincial Union and Franchise Workshop
    July 7 2009: Heartland Championship Provincial Union Workshop
    July 18 2009: NZRU Board agrees new competition structure for 2010 onwards
    Nov 20 2009: Assessment of Provincial Unions following 2009 season completion
    Dec 2009: Competition participants confirmed
    Aug 14 2010: New domestic competitions commence
    Oct 23 2010: Inaugural Final of new domestic competitions


    Personally I think this is a rubbish call on the NZRU's behalf. Attendances aren't going to jump up if they keep changing the structure and going back on their calls.
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  3. I can't see the positives to this move, personally.

    Someone care to explain what the purpose of this 'reform' is?
  4. jawmalawm24

    jawmalawm24 Guest

    I don't think there are any positives really it's just gone back to how it was with 3 divisions. The promotion/relegation isn't really new because teams like Hawkes Bay come up from 2nd division a couple years back and Manawatu Turbos skipped a whole division when they went from 3rd to 1st division.

    So what happens if a heartland side gets promoted but they don't have the affordability to be in the 2nd division I wonder if the Nzrfu would help out. I highly doubt they would look at the Counties Steelers they had to try put their team on Trademe just to try and gain some interest in sponsors.

    I hope they know what they're doing and don't come along and stuff up the Anz Cup it's been tampered with plenty may as well call it the Experimental Anz Cup variations.
  5. William18

    William18 Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (RugbyHighlights @ Jul 23 2009, 04:45 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    A bit late but here you go:

    Having 14 professional domestic rugby teams in a country the size of NZ was unsustainable. The bottom teams were brining the competition down and crowds were dropping. Aucklanders don't care about a game against Manawatu, and why should they when they haven't even heard of mos of the players? This also creates automatic promotion-relegation which gives teams the chance to jump up and down divisions and gives them something to work for. This isn't going to make things improve dramatically but i think it is a step in the right direction.
  6. Jethro

    Jethro Guest

    So after three years of Tew and Co. tinkering and breaking what didn't need fixed it's back to the future.

    Note the NZRU aren't exactly forthcoming on the requirements to remain in the top division, I can see another Northland backlash against this one if the wrong teams get dropped.

    Thus far you would have to say Counties and Tasman are going down due to financial issues. But what happens if Auckland ends up in the bottom four again this year or Otago have another nightmare of a season? The factors leading to a decision should be transparent imho.
  7. William18

    William18 Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Jethro @ Aug 5 2009, 06:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Auckland will have a team because they represent the biggest population area in New Zealand. That should really be enough reason to keep them up. You also can't have teams in the top flight which are not making any money what so ever. However, after the first season when the changes are mplemented finances and all that will mean nothing. If Counties or Tasman are good enough they can m,ove straight back up the very next year.
  8. Flux

    Flux Guest

    I heard last year that Taranaki weren't far from being in the same boat as Northland and Tasman. I'm not sure how reliable this rumour is, but I'm a little worried they could be in trouble come the end of the year if we're not careful. Especially if we don't pull finger on the field.
  9. William18

    William18 Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Flux @ Aug 8 2009, 02:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Even if Taranaki were relegated I think they would do well in the next division. They would probably be promoted back up fairly quickly.
  10. Flux

    Flux Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (William18 @ Aug 8 2009, 05:27 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Even if Taranaki were relegated I think they would do well in the next division. They would probably be promoted back up fairly quickly.

    I'd hope so. My biggest concern is that even if we were to get relegated, I think a lot of fans would lose interest, and given that I was told it was money that was the problem, this can't be a good thing.
  11. gingergenius

    gingergenius Guest

    Would it be an idea for the top 5 in this competition to form NZ's Super 14 teams? So, in other words, you'd have to qualify to play Super rugby. They should do that in SA as well. Maybe that would make the competition more interesting...
  12. Flux

    Flux Guest

    In theory, that does sound like quite a good idea, but I can't see it happening. There's not much logic amongst the SANZAR nations really. That's why we've got a 15th Super rugby team being made in the first place.
  13. William18

    William18 Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (gingergenius @ Aug 8 2009, 10:33 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Various ideas like that have been presented. It's worth considering but I don't think it will work. I think people do feel a lot more attachment to their province so it could be a good idea including them in the Super 14. A team like Manawatu could have a good season and come 5th when they really don't deserve to be in the Super 14. You must also realise that All Blacks don't really play in the Air New Zealand Cup. It would be unfair for teams to miss out because their best players were not avaliable. The teams with All Blacks might not make the Super 14 and then they would be going into test matches off of club rugby. The season would need to be majorly reconstructed if this was to happen.
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