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Belin Sullivan is in action for Waikato against Wellington on August 15. His team will play Canterbury in the new NPC draw next Friday.
Provincial powerhouses Waikato and Canterbury will clash in the resumption NPC next Friday night after New Zealand Rugby confirmation. A regulated draw without three sides of Auckland.
The NPC has been suspended since the end of the second round when the nationwide Covid 19 Level 4 lockdown was announced.
Now that all areas outside of Auckland have moved to level 2, Round Three will be played between eight of the 14 teams next weekend.
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All Blacks are nominated to play their first match in the Rugby Championship Series against Argentina.
Waiko – who won their first two matches – host Canterbury at the Waikato Stadium on Friday, while Taranaki host Wellington and Northland host Tasman on Saturday, the second unbeaten premiership team.
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Then on Sunday, Hawke’s Bay lined up the Reinforce Shield against Bay of Plenty at Make of Park, Napier.
That means Otago, Southland and Manawati are sitting next weekend with Auckland, North Harbor and the counties Manukau still under Level 4 restrictions.
NZR has just released the Round Three NPC schedule, as it awaits news at Alert Alert for Monday.
A revised Farah Palmer Cup (FPC) draw will also be announced early next week, pushing the competition further.
Steve Lancaster, NZR’s general manager of community rugby, said in a statement: “This is an uncertain time for everyone, so next weekend matches are scheduled and some interesting Bunnings Warehouse NPC and Heartland Championship rugby is looking forward to a great result.
“All three of us are committed to playing the full domestic competition, and hopefully our teams in Auckland will be in a position to play back in the coming weeks.”
The Heartland Championship, which was just underway before the lockdown, will also begin next weekend when the King Country table will host Mid Canterbury in Cote d’Ivoire.
Blair, North Otago, Virarpa Bush, Wanganui and West Coast will also play hosts as all six Round One matches are played on Saturday. The Meds Cup and Luchor Cup finals are now scheduled for the weekend of November 13.
“Our rural communities stopped supporting their teams last season and stopped again in 2021. Hopefully rugby can provide some relief during these difficult times,” Lancaster said.