Heartland Championship Information
The Heartland Championship, which was created as part of the New Zealand Rugby Union's wide-ranging Competitions Review, kicked off in August 2006 and features 12 teams.
It essentially saw some teams from the old NPC Division Two and all the sides from NPC Division Three amalgamate into a second tier competition below the ITM Cup.
In 2012 the same twelve teams will participate being: Buller, East Coast, Horowhenua Kapiti, King Country, Mid Canterbury, North Otago, Poverty Bay, South Canterbury, Thames Valley, Wairarapa Bush, Wanganui, and West Coast.
Each team plays eight of the other 11 teams in the first round over an eight week period beginning on 25 August 2012.
At the conclusion of this first to fourth on the competition ladder play off for the Meads Cup, while fifth to eighth on the ladder will contest the Lochore Cup – in what is effectively a semi-final format, followed by the winning semifinalists meeting in the Meads Cup and Lochore Cup finals respectively.