North Harbour withdrawn from FPC

20 Sep 2021

The Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) presented by Bunnings Warehouse will
continue without Auckland, Counties-Manukau and North Harbour, who have
collectively accepted they are unable to continue in the competition due to
their inability to train or play under COVID-19 Alert Levels.

The final week of the regular season of the Bunnings Warehouse
FPC Premiership and Championship will be completed with the remaining 10
teams, with the respective finals series to be played on the first two
weekends October.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) General Manager Community Rugby Steve
Lancaster said the decision been made in consultation with the three
Auckland-based Provincial Unions and the New Zealand Rugby Players’

“It’s tough on the Auckland-based players who desperately wanted
to represent their provinces in the final weeks of the competition, but after
consulting with all parties it was clear we could not extend the competition
any later than we have already. We needed to provide certainty to all
involved in the competition and ultimately pushing out the finals again,
while the Auckland-based teams are unable to train or play was just not
feasible at this time,” Lancaster said.

In the Bunnings Warehouse FPC Premiership, defending champions
Waikato and current leaders Canterbury have already qualified for the finals
series with Wellington Pride also in the hunt for a semi-finals spot.

If Wellington beat the Bay of Plenty Volcanix in their final
match of the regular season at Blake Park in Mount Maunganui this Saturday
(25 September) they will join Canterbury and Waikato in a three team finals
series that will see the top qualifier go through to the final and the second
and third placed sides play a preliminary final.

However, if Wellington lose to Bay of Plenty they will exit the competition.
With Canterbury and Waikato going straight to the final where they will play
each other the following weekend.

The Bunnings Warehouse FPC Championship will go straight to the
three-team finals format where current leaders the Manawatu Cyclones will be
joined by Northland and the Hawke’s Bay.

“In consultation with the Provincial Unions, it was confirmed
that we would not replace Auckland teams with teams below them on the points
table. For the integrity of the competition, it was agreed that only teams who
qualified for the play-offs would progress beyond the end of pool play.”

“While it’s not the finish to the season we’d all hoped for, the
positive is that we can look forward to some really meaningful fixtures over
the next three weeks and a continuation of the exciting rugby we’ve seen
throughout the season,” Lancaster said.

Under current COVID-19 Alert Level 2, the Bunnings Warehouse FPC
can continue throughout the rest of New Zealand (outside of Auckland region)
if Ministry of Health and NZ Rugby COVID-19 guidelines are followed,
including restrictions on mass gathering, contact tracing and hygiene
protocols. Ministry of Health Alert Level 2 guidelines can be found here.

Individual Provincial Unions will determine whether those
guidelines are able to be met for this weekend’s rugby and will communicate
directly with their respective clubs and schools.

Further information:
Follow New Zealand Rugby on twitter @nzrugby for all
media releases and other important information.

Key contacts:

Aimee Dykstra
Media and Communications Advisor
M: +64 (0)21 440 956
E: [email protected]

Toby Robson
Media and Communications Manager
M: +64 (0)21 401 012
E: [email protected]

North Harbour withdrawn from FPC
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