Family-friendly kick off times are a focus on this year’s competition, with 46 of the 77 games to be played at afternoon and early evening times. The first match of the season will see Tasman go up against Otago in a South Island derby on Friday 4 August at 5.35PM, in Nelson.
NZR General Manager of Community Rugby Steve Lancaster is pleased to see a large proportion of matches kicking off earlier, providing rugby fans and their whanau with more opportunities to support their provincial teams.
“Communities in many parts of Aotearoa have had a challenging start to 2023, so it is great to be looking forward to provincial rugby again. Hawke’s Bay, one of the most affected regions has three home games in row, so fans will have ample opportunity to head down to McLean Park in Napier and enjoy an afternoon or evening of rugby. And if Wellington manage to retain the Ranfurly Shield, their match against Hawke’s Bay in week nine will be huge.”
Following an outstanding season, 2022 title winners and Ranfurly Shield holders Wellington play provincial neighbours Manawatū in Palmerston North on Saturday 5 August at 2.05PM. Wellington will play Southland in their first Ranfurly Shield challenge of the season, in week three at Sky Stadium, kicking off at 2.05PM.
Week four of the competition includes two big clashes. The first being a battle of the south, with Otago set to take on Southland at Forsyth Barr Stadium and a re-match of last year’s final between Canterbury and Wellington at Orangetheory Stadium.
To view the full Bunnings Warehouse NPC 2023 draw click HERE.
This year’s competition format sees all 14-teams represented in a single points table, with the top eight teams progressing to the play-offs. The quarterfinals see the top ranked team hosting (1 v 8, 2 v 7, 3 v 6, 4 v 5), the following weekend semi-finals will see team’s play-off for a spot in the finals (1 v 4, 2 v 3).
The Bunnings Warehouse NPC final is scheduled for the weekend of 20th October, with the exact date and kick off time to be confirmed.