2019 Farah Palmer Cup set to be the 'Best Ever'
WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - OCTOBER 20: Monica Tagoai of Wellington breaks away for a try during the Farah Palmer Cup Championship Final match between the Wellington Pride and Otago Spirit at Porirua Park on October 20, 2018 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

After months of waiting, the schedule for the 2019 Farah Palmer Cup has been released. And acknowledging the growth of the women’s game across the globe, this year’s competition is set to be the ‘Best Ever’.

After three successful and well supported seasons in its current name, the Women’s national provincial championship has developed from an experiment, to become one of women’s rugby trendsetters. The groundbreaking concept, with the Premiership and Championship models so successful in raising the profile and quality of rugby, that it is the envy of many other nations.

The 2019 version should lift that standard yet again, with the Black Ferns returning from their Super Series test matches in San Diego. The best preparation ever, including the wider-squad training camps before the women left New Zealand. It has all built toward the 2019 Farah Palmer Cup start, on Saturday 31 August.

New Zealand Rugby’s chief rugby officer Nigel Cass said the growth of the 2019 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.”

2019 Farah Palmer Cup set to be the ‘Best Ever’

Media statements from New Zealand Rugby (NZR) explain that the Farah Palmer Cup will grow to include 13 teams, with the inclusion of Northland continuing to grow the competition. The 2019 draw, which will see more televised matches than ever before with the Premiership kicking off on 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.

2018 Farah Palmer Cup - 12th team makes for biggest competition ever
Rebecca Todd of Canterbury divers over of Taranaki scores the winning try during the Farah Palmer Cup Premiership Final match between Counties Manukau and Canterbury on October 29, 2017 in Manukau City, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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.

They will be joined in the premiership division by Wellington, Counties Manukau, Manawatu, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Auckland. 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.

The 2019 Farah Palmer Cup finals will be played on the last weekend of October.

 

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