Bunnings NPC semifinals: Preview and Team Lists

GettyImages 1431835883

The first semifinal pits traditional rivals Wellington and Auckland against each other at Sky Stadium on Friday night. The action moves to the South Island on Saturday with Canterbury hosting the Bay of Plenty Steamers at Orangetheory Stadium.

Find your key match information and team lists below. NOTE: Teams are added as they are named. All matches are live on Sky Sport NZ.

Wellington v Auckland

Friday 14 October

7.05pm, Sky Stadium, Wellington

Wellington last took out the overall title back in 2000 (they won the now defunct Championship title in 2017) and were runners up in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2019. As the reigning Ranfurly Shield holders and table toppers in the Odds conference, Lions fans will rightfully have confidence that 2022 could be the year to break their title drought. A dangerous Auckland side stands in their way of a date with destiny though. Auckland dug deep to beat North Harbour 21-18 in a crunch quarterfinal last weekend. Despite not having the services of All Blacks Akira Ioane and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck this week, Auckland still have plenty of firepower across the park with AJ Lam, Bryce Heem and Tomas Aoake bringing x-factor in the backline.

Canterbury v Bay of Plenty

Saturday 15 October

7.05pm, Orangetheory Stadium, Christchurch

Bay of Plenty were the inaugural winners of the NPC in 1976 and have not lifted the title since. Canterbury have won 14 titles in that time with their last coming in 2017. Canterbury made tough work of their win against Northland last week, coming out on top 23-16 in an arm-wrestle knockout clash at Orangetheory Stadium. The Steamers have talent across the park and showed it in their impressive final quarter performance against Waikato to power home 34-27. History will be against the Steamers though. They have never beaten Canterbury in 16 attempts away from home and went down 40-28 in the last meeting between the sides earlier this year. The Steamers will head south with no fear and provide a dangerous prospect to a Canterbury side that will be feeling the weight of expectation from their fans.