New Zealand Rugby has today unveiled the draw for the upcoming Farah Palmer Cup with the Counties Manukau Heat set to host Bay of Plenty in a season-opener at Navigation Homes Stadium on Saturday, August 22.
This year’s competition will be played in two pools split geographically with Counties Manukau joined by Northland, North Harbour, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki in the seven-team North pool.
The South pool will start on Saturday, September 5 with Manawatu, Hawke’s Bay, Wellington, Tasman and Otago joining reigning champions Canterbury.
The top two teams from each pool will take part in crossover semi-finals and the final will be held a week later on October 17.
The country’s top women’s rugby players are expected to be in action across the nine-week competition with leading Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens players representing their Provincial Unions across 39 matches.
Chad Shepherd, Counties Manukau’s Head of High Performance, will link up again as coach of the Heat for 2020 and will be looking for his team to improve on last year’s semi-final finish.
“We are very excited about the upcoming season and our players have been working hard,” Shepherd said.
“There are going to be some very good teams in this year’s competition so we will have to be up for the challenge.”
Shepherd’s Heat team also host games against North Harbour and Northland while road trips to Auckland, Taranaki and Waikato have been locked in.
New Zealand Rugby’s Head of Women’s Rugby Cate Sexton said Provincial Unions are well under way in their preparation for what promises to be an exciting season.
“There is a lot on the line this season because the level of competition continues to grow, and players will be eager to impress. The allure of a black jersey, with the World Cup at home next year will no doubt bring the best out of players and teams,” Sexton said.
See below for the full draw:
|Counties Power Heat Match Fixtures 2020|
|Date||Time||Home Team||Away Team||Venue|
|Sat, 22nd August||2:05pm||Counties Power Heat||vs||Bay Of Plenty||Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe|
|Sat, 29th August||2:00pm||Taranaki||Counties Power Heat||TET Stadium & Events Centre|
|Sat, 5th September||2:05pm||Counties Power Heat||vs||North Harbour||Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe|
|Su, 20th September||2:05pm||Auckland||vs||Counties Power Heat||Eden Park|
|Sun, 27th Sept||2:05pm||*Counties Power Heat||vs||Northland||Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe|
|Sat, 3rd October||12:30pm||Waikato||vs||Counties Power Heat||TBC|
|9th-11th October||Semi Final|
* Double header with Mitre 10 Cup game
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