The NZRU have announced the new two-tier structure of the NZ Cup which will be in effect from 2011.
It was decided last week that the NZ Cup will accommodate all 14 unions in next season’s competition because of threats of legal action. So the NZ Cup will have the same structure next year, with round-robin matches, semi-finals and final.
Now the NZRU have revealed their plans for 2011, which will see the top seven teams after the 2010 season forming the Premiership and the bottom half forming the Championship.
Each team will face all the unions in their division, as well as four teams from the other division. The winner of the Championship will be promoted to the top tier, while the 7th-placed side in the Premiership will be relegated.
Because of the 2011 World Cup, the competition will be reduced to 8 weeks, which results in mid-week fixtures and no semi-finals.
From 2012, however, the competition will start after the Super 15 over a 12-week period, which sees no mid-week matches and semi-finals will return.