New Zealand Rugby has today released the 2019 Farah Palmer Cup draw, which will see more televised matches than ever before with the Premiership kicking off on Saturday 31 August, followed by the Championship the week later.
As well as 19 live match broadcasts, SKY will again have a dedicated weekly highlights show giving fans the opportunity to keep up to date with the entire competition.
New Zealand’s premier women’s tournament will boast 13 teams this season with the inclusion of Northland continuing to grow the competition.
New Zealand Rugby’s Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said the growth of the Farah Palmer Cup mirrors the surge in interest in the women’s game.
“We’ve seen women’s rugby go from strength to strength in recent years and it is great to see the Farah Palmer Cup continuing to develop and give our players meaningful competition.
“In the past two weeks we have seen six players from the Farah Palmer Cup make their Black Ferns debut over in the USA which should be a big motivator for players stepping out in their provincial colours later this year,” said Cass.
The opening round of the competition will see six of the Premiership teams take the field, defending champions Canterbury will host the newly-promoted Wellington; the only team to have beaten them in the 2018 season.
Canterbury will again be the team to watch as they target a third consecutive title as well as the defence of the JJ Stewart Trophy, the women’s equivalent of the prestigious Ranfurly Shield.
They will be joined in the premiership division by Wellington, Counties Manukau, Manawatu, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland, who avoided premiership relegation due to the expanded competition format.
Otago, North Harbour, Tasman, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki and newcomers Northland make up the championship.
Teams play each opposition in their own division once throughout the round robin, with the Championship teams advancing to quarter-finals and the Premiership teams going straight to semi-final action.
– New Zealand Rugby
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.