National Provincial Championship (1976–2005)

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. In 2006, it was replaced by two competitions, the Air New Zealand Cup (now known as the Bunnings NPC) and the Heartland Championship.

National Provincial Championship (1976–2005)
Npc.jpg
Competition logo
SportRugby union
Founded1976
Ceased2005
CountryNew Zealand
Last
champion(s)
Auckland

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.

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.

In 1980, there was a change in format. There was no automatic relegation for any team from Division One. Instead, the Division Two North Island and South Island winning teams played each other to determine who played in a promotion/relegation match against the bottom team in Division One.

This 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.

HistoryEdit

In 1976, the original founded New Zealand Rugby Football Union organised a new provincial competition, unifying the various football unions across New Zealand. This was due to the demand after administered interprovincial matches were only arranged and scheduled for in an independent manner since the 19th century.[1] The National Provincial Championship was established with the inaugural tournament kicked off in May 1976. The football unions were divided into two divisions, a Division One and a Division Two, the latter split into North Island and South Island sub-divisions. The title was awarded to the top-placed team on each division's competition ladder at the end of the season.[2] After ten games in all, Bay of Plenty were crowned the winners, on 18 September 1976. Taranaki remained unbeaten and gained promotion to Division One after finishing first in Division Two.[3]

TeamsEdit

Union Location Established Final season
finish
Top scorer Top try scorer
Auckland Auckland 1883 2nd Grant Fox (2,746) Terry Wright (112)
Bay of Plenty Tauranga 1911 8th Greg Rowlands (1,008) Graeme Moore (62)
Buller Westport 1894 4th David Baird (575) Thomas Stuart (44)
Canterbury Christchurch 1879 1st Robbie Deans (1,625) Paula Bale (94)
Counties Manukau Pukekohe 1955 2nd Daniel Love (698) Alan Dawson (59)
East Coast Ruatoria 1921 9th Elias Manuel (406) Jim Kururangi (24)
Hawke's Bay Napier 1884 1st Jarrod Cunningham (998) Bert Grenside (73)
Horowhenua-Kapiti Levin 1893 2nd Craig Laursen (440) Paul Hirini (69)
King Country Te Kuiti 1922 3rd Hutana Coffin (917) Murray Kidd (46)
Manawatu Palmerston North 1886 6th Jason Holland (641) Kenneth Granger (66)
Mid Canterbury Ashburton 1904 5th A.H.A. Smith (598) Geoff Bryant (47)
North Harbour Auckland 1985 2nd Warren Burton (1,052) Richard Kapa (63)
North Otago Oamaru 1904 4th Patrick Ford (429) Pila Fifita (39)
Northland Whangārei 1920 10th Warren Johnston (1,656) Norman Berryman (71)
Otago Dunedin 1881 4th Greg Cooper (1,524) Paul Cooke (71)
Poverty Bay Gisborne 1890 8th Scott Leighton (791) Patrick Ransley (35)
South Canterbury Timaru 1888 7th Barry Fairbrother (1,048) Steven Todd (60)
Southland Invercargill 1887 6th Simon Culhane (976) Bruce Pascoe (46)
Taranaki New Plymouth 1889 9th Kieran Crowley (1,723) Kieran Crowley (64)
Thames Valley Paeroa 1922 6th David Harrison (582) Irvine Campbell (42)
Waikato Hamilton 1921 7th Matthew Cooper (1,604) Bruce Smith (70)
Wairarapa Bush Masterton 1886 1st Patrick Harding-Rimene (561) Michael Foster (43)
Wanganui Whanganui 1888 7th Bob Barrell (980) John Hainsworth (48)
Wellington Wellington 1879 5th Allan Hewson (909) Bernie Fraser (105)
West Coast Greymouth 1890 8th Michael Foster (712) Kenneth Beams (27)

List of championsEdit

ResultsEdit

No. Year Winner Result Runner-up Venue Location Notes
1 1976 Bay of Plenty [note 1] Manawatu N/A Rotorua North Island winner: Taranaki
South Island winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Manawatu
2 1977 Canterbury N/A Counties N/A Christchurch North Island winner: North Auckland
South Island winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Manawatu
3 1978 Wellington N/A Counties N/A Wellington North Island winner: Bay of Plenty
South Island winner: Marlborough
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Manawatu and North Auckland
4 1979 Counties N/A Auckland N/A Pukekohe North Island winner: Hawke's Bay
South Island winner: Marlborough
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): North Auckland and Auckland
5 1980 Manawatu N/A Auckland N/A Palmerston North North Island winner: Waikato
South Island winner: Mid Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland and Waikato
6 1981 Wellington N/A Manawatu N/A Wellington North Island winner: Wairarapa Bush
South Island winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Waikato and Wellington
7 1982 Auckland N/A Canterbury N/A Auckland North Island winner: Taranaki
South Island winner: Southland
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Wellington and Canterbury
8 1983 Canterbury N/A Wellington N/A Christchurch North Island winner: Taranaki
South Island winner: Mid Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury
9 1984 Auckland N/A Canterbury N/A Auckland North Island winner: Taranaki
South Island winner: Southland
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury
10 1985 Auckland N/A Canterbury N/A Auckland Second Division winner: Taranaki
Third Division winner: North Harbour
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury and Auckland
11 1986 Wellington N/A Auckland N/A Wellington Second Division winner: Waikato
Third Division winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland
12 1987 Auckland N/A Wellington N/A Auckland Second Division winner: North Harbour
Third Division winner: Poverty Bay
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland
13 1988 Auckland N/A Wellington N/A Auckland Second Division winner: Hawke's Bay
Third Division winner: Thames Valley
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland
14 1989 Auckland N/A Canterbury N/A Auckland Second Division winner: Southland
Third Division winner: Wanganui
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland
15 1990 Auckland N/A Waikato N/A Auckland Second Division winner: Hawke's Bay
Third Division winner: Thames Valley
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland
16 1991 Otago N/A Auckland N/A Dunedin Second Division winner: King Country
Third Division winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland
17 1992 Waikato 40–5 Otago Rugby Park Hamilton Second Division winner: Taranaki
Third Division winner: Nelson Bays
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland
18 1993 Auckland 27–18 Otago Eden Park Auckland Second Division winner: Counties
Third Division winner: Horowhenua
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland and Waikato
19 1994 Auckland 22–16 North Harbour Onewa Domain Auckland Second Division winner: Southland
Third Division winner: Mid Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Waikato and Canterbury
20 1995 Auckland 23–19 Otago Eden Park Auckland Second Division winner: Taranaki
Third Division winner: Thames Valley
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury and Auckland
21 1996 Auckland 46–15 Counties Manukau Eden Park Auckland Second Division winner: Southland
Third Division winner: Wanganui
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland, Taranaki, and Waikato
22 1997 Canterbury 44–13 Counties Manukau Lancaster Park Christchurch Second Division winner: Northland
Third Division winner: Marlborough
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland and Waikato
23 1998 Otago 49–20 Waikato Carisbrook Dunedin Second Division winner: Central Vikings
Third Division winner: Mid Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Waikato
24 1999 Auckland 24–18 Wellington Eden Park Auckland Second Division winner: Nelson Bays
Third Division winner: East Coast
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Waikato
25 2000 Wellington 34–29 Canterbury Jade Stadium Christchurch Second Division winner: Bay of Plenty
Third Division winner: East Coast
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Waikato and Canterbury
26 2001 Canterbury 30–19 Otago Jade Stadium Christchurch Second Division winner: Hawke's Bay
Third Division winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury
27 2002 Auckland 40–28 Waikato Waikato Stadium Hamilton Second Division winner: Hawke's Bay
Third Division winner: North Otago
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury
28 2003 Auckland 41–29 Wellington Westpac Stadium Wellington Second Division winner: Hawke's Bay
Third Division winner: Wanganui
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury and Auckland
29 2004 Canterbury 40–27 Wellington Westpac Stadium Wellington Second Division winner: Nelson Bays
Third Division winner: Poverty Bay
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland, Bay of Plenty, and Canterbury
30 2005 Auckland 39–11 Otago Eden Park Auckland Second Division winner: Hawke's Bay
Third Division winner: Wairarapa Bush
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury
31 2006 Waikato 37–31 Wellington Waikato Stadium Hamilton Meads Cup winner: Wairarapa Bush
Lochore Cup winner: Poverty Bay
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury and North Harbour
32 2007 Auckland 23–14 Wellington Eden Park Auckland Meads Cup winner: North Otago
Lochore Cup winner: Poverty Bay
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): North Harbour, Waikato, Canterbury, and Auckland
33 2008 Canterbury 7–6 Wellington Westpac Stadium Wellington Meads Cup winner: Wanganui
Lochore Cup winner: Poverty Bay
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Auckland and Wellington
34 2009 Canterbury 28–20 Wellington AMI Stadium Christchurch Meads Cup winner: Wanganui
Lochore Cup winner: North Otago
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Wellington, Canterbury, and Southland
35 2010 Canterbury 33–13 Waikato AMI Stadium Christchurch Meads Cup winner: North Otago
Lochore Cup winner: Wairarapa Bush
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Southland and Canterbury
36 2011 Canterbury 12–3 Waikato AMI Stadium Christchurch Championship winner: Hawke's Bay
Meads Cup winner: Wanganui
Lochore Cup winner: Poverty Bay
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury, Southland, and Taranaki
37 2012 Canterbury 31–18 Auckland AMI Stadium (Addington) Christchurch Championship winner: Counties Manukau
Meads Cup winner: East Coast
Lochore Cup winner: Buller
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Taranaki and Waikato
38 2013 Canterbury 29–13 Wellington Westpac Stadium Wellington Championship winner: Tasman
Meads Cup winner: Mid Canterbury
Lochore Cup winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Waikato, Otago, Hawke's Bay, and Counties Manukau
39 2014 Taranaki 36–32 Tasman Yarrow Stadium New Plymouth Championship winner: Manawatu
Meads Cup winner: Mid Canterbury
Lochore Cup winner: Wanganui
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Counties Manukau and Hawke's Bay
40 2015 Canterbury 25–23 Auckland AMI Stadium (Addington) Christchurch Championship winner: Hawke's Bay
Meads Cup winner: Wanganui
Lochore Cup winner: King Country
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Hawke's Bay and Waikato
41 2016 Canterbury 43–27 Tasman AMI Stadium (Addington) Christchurch Championship winner: North Harbour
Meads Cup winner: Wanganui
Lochore Cup winner: North Otago
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Waikato and Canterbury
42 2017 Canterbury 35–13 Tasman AMI Stadium (Addington) Christchurch Championship winner: Wellington
Meads Cup winner: Wanganui
Lochore Cup winner: Mid Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury and Taranaki
43 2018 Auckland 40–33 Canterbury Eden Park Auckland Championship winner: Waikato
Meads Cup winner: Thames Valley
Lochore Cup winner: Horowhenua-Kapiti
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Taranaki, Waikato, and Otago
44 2019 Tasman 31–14 Wellington Trafalgar Park Nelson Championship winner: Bay of Plenty
Meads Cup winner: North Otago
Lochore Cup winner: South Canterbury
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Otago and Canterbury
45 2020 Tasman 13–12 Auckland Eden Park Auckland Championship winner: Hawke's Bay
Ranfurly Shield holder(s): Canterbury, Taranaki, Otago, and Hawke's Bay
Heartland Championship was cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand

In all, 9 teams have played in at least one final from 1992. Of these are, Auckland, Canterbury, Counties Manukau, North Harbour, Otago, Taranaki, Tasman, Waikato, and Wellington. Of those teams, seven have won the first division or known as the premiership. With seventeen titles, Auckland are the most successful provincial team and also have finished runners-up on seven other occasions. Bay of Plenty were the first team to win the first division with Canterbury being the second most successful with fourteen titles. Counties Manukau (1979), Manawatu (1980), Otago (1991 and 1998), Taranaki (2014), Tasman (2019 and 2020), Waikato (1992 and 2006), and Wellington (1978, 1981, 1986, and 2000) are the only teams to have won titles. North Harbour in 1994 is the only other team to appear in a final or finish runners-up. Wellington has made the most second place finishes with twelve.

Premiership champions by unionEdit

Team Wins Winning years
Auckland 17 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2018
Canterbury 14 1977, 1983, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017
Wellington 4 1978, 1981, 1986, 2000
Otago 2 1991, 1998
Waikato 2 1992, 2006
Tasman 2 2019, 2020
Bay of Plenty 1 1976
Counties Manukau 1 1979
Manawatu 1 1980
Taranaki 1 2014

Other division champions by unionEdit

Team Wins Winning years
Hawke's Bay 10 1979 (North Island) 1988, 1990, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 (Second Division) 2011, 2015, 2020 (Championship)
Wanganui 10 1989, 1996, 2003 (Third Division) 2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017 (Meads Cup) 2014 (Lochore Cup)
South Canterbury 8 1976, 1977, 1981 (South Island) 1986, 1991, 2001 (Third Division) 2013, 2019 (Lochore Cup)
Taranaki 7 1976, 1982, 1983, 1984 (North Island) 1985, 1992, 1995 (Second Division)
Mid Canterbury 7 1980, 1983 (South Island) 1994, 1998 (Third Division) 2013, 2014 (Meads Cup) 2017 (Lochore Cup)
Tasman[note 2] 7 1978, 1979 (South Island) 1992 (Third Division) 1997 (Third Division) 1999, 2004 (Second Division) 2013 (Championship)
Poverty Bay 6 1987, 2004 (Third Division) 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 (Lochore Cup)
North Otago 6 2002 (Third Division) 2007, 2010, 2019 (Meads Cup) 2009, 2016 (Lochore Cup)
Southland 5 1982, 1984 (South Island) 1989, 1994, 1996 (Second Division)
Wairarapa Bush 4 1981 (North Island) 2005 (Third Division) 2006 (Meads Cup) 2010 (Lochore Cup)
Thames Valley 4 1988, 1990, 1995 (Third Division) 2018 (Meads Cup)
Bay of Plenty 3 1978 (North Island) 2000 (Second Division) 2019 (Championship)
Waikato 3 1980 (North Island) 1986 (Second Division) 2018 (Championship)
North Harbour 3 1985 (Third Division) 1987 (Second Division) 2016 (Championship)
East Coast 3 1999, 2000 (Third Division) 2012 (Meads Cup)
Northland 2 1977 (North Island) 1997 (Second Division)
King Country 2 1991 (Second Division) 2015 (Lochore Cup)
Counties Manukau 2 1993 (Second Division) 2012 (Championship)
Horowhenua-Kapiti 2 1993 (Third Division) 2018 (Lochore Cup)
Central Vikings[note 3] 1 1998 (Second Division)
Buller 1 2012 (Lochore Cup)
Manawatu 1 2014 (Championship)
Wellington 1 2017 (Championship)
West Coast[note 4] 0
Notes
  1. ^ There was no first place match from 1976 to 1991; the top two teams were ranked according to their overall records in the tournament.
  2. ^ Marlborough amalgamated with Nelson Bays in 2005 to become the Tasman Rugby Union from 2006.
  3. ^ Central Vikings Rugby Union was formed from the merger of Hawke's Bay and Manawatu rugby football unions to compete in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
  4. ^ West Coast Rugby Union remains the only union out of the 26 other rugby unions to have never won any title(s) in the National Provincial Championship.

List of New Zealand Premiers (1976–2005)Edit

  1. – Auckland – 15 titles
  2. – Canterbury – 5 titles
  3. – Wellington – 4 titles
  4. – Otago – 2 titles
  5. – Bay of Plenty, Counties Manukau, Manawatu and Waikato – 1 title

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "National Competitions". New Zealand Rugby. 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Regional rugby". New Zealand History. 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  3. ^ "National Provincial Competition winners, 1976–2014". Te Ara. 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.