Heartland Championship Explained
The 2012 Heartland Championship is the 7th season of the second tier of New Zealand domestic competition.
This season sees the continuation of the format successfully introduced last year which was done in order to accommodate the 2011 Rugby World 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.