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U85 cup draw set

7 April 2022
Eden Lizards Nico Costa-Lidow (C) tries to evade a tackle during the New Zealand Barbarians National U85 Club Cup Final match between Eden Lizards and Varsity Squids at Eden Park in Auckland on November 7, 2020. Photo by DAVID ROWLAND / AFP via Getty Images.
Eden Lizards Nico Costa-Lidow (C) tries to evade a tackle during the New Zealand Barbarians National U85 Club Cup Final match between Eden Lizards and Varsity Squids at Eden Park in Auckland on November 7, 2020. Photo by DAVID ROWLAND / AFP via Getty Images.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the draw for the 2022 Under 85 National Club Cup, which is growing in popularity every year.

U85 Club Cup Competition Manager, Mike Hester said the weight-restricted, knock-out competition had seen great growth in size and popularity since its launch in 2020, with 47 teams from around Aotearoa geared to compete this year – up from 19 teams in its inaugural year.

“Even with the disruption of Covid-19, we’ve seen huge growth in the past three years, cementing how important this competition is for the community game,” he said.

In the early rounds, teams will compete in a bracketed draw through Northern, Central and Southern pools to ensure a fair and even competition, and to minimise disruption to the regular club season.

Of note:

  • Among the nine new teams this season are two from Otago – home of last year’s winners, the Carisbrook Bush Pigs.
  • 2021 Finalists, NZ Forestry Tukapa Bantams will play College Rifles Raiders in a round one clash.
  • 2020 champions Eden Lizards, one of several teams with a first-round bye, will face the winner of Auckland University Debt Collectors versus the Onewhero 85s.

A real appetite for opportunities

Hester said it was great to witness the start of a strong comeback for weight-restricted rugby throughout New Zealand and provide a pathway for players to stay in the game for longer.

“There’s real appetite from Provincial Unions to grow weight-restricted rugby in their regions and provide more ways for people to play. This is one initiative to help support that growth.

“The grade can also play an important part in helping teenagers move from school to club rugby. The more opportunities we give our players to play and develop their skills, the stronger our rugby system will be.”

"It’s a real privilege to be able to put this grade and its participants in the limelight, and to provide an opportunity for these players to play on a national stage.”

While the schedule has yet to be finalised, fans can anticipate the first of the cross-regional match-ups kick off in early June.

DRAW

Northern

  • Onewhero 85s v Auckland University Debt Collectors
  • Auckland University Legends v Marist Brothers Old Boys MOB
  • Hamilton Old Boys Wolfpack v Lemington Longhorns
  • Hamilton Marist Bulldogs v Suburbs Stallions
  • Ponsonby Hustlers v Patumahoe 85s
  • Waiheke Island RFC Pirates v College Rifles Bombers
  • Fraser Tech 85s v Morrinsville Sports Majestic Pukekos
  • BOP Kahukura v Hawke's Bay Saracens
  • Pakuranga Black Panthers v Pukekohe Pirates
  • Auckland University Squids v Karaka Razzlers
  • Tukapa Bantams v College Rifles Raiders

Teams with bye to round two: Mayfield East Coast Bays 85s; Northshore RFC Hairy Goats; Eden Lizards; Grammar Tech Taniwha; Grammar Tech Old Boys; Ponsonby Pikeys; Melville 85s; Takapuna Bombers. 

Central

  • Central RFC v Old Boys University Scallywags

Bye to round two: Eastbourne Gulls; Upper Hutt Rams; Johnsonville Megabyte Terrahawks; Avalon Wolves; Poneke Wanderers; Marist St Pats Reds; Wellington FC Black Dog U85 Axemen.

Southern

  • Wakatipu Waka Dogs v University of Canterbury Black Mambas
  • Lincoln Short Finned Eels v High School Old Boys Light Bears
  • Zingari Richmond Dragons v Celtic Fighting Leprechauns
  • Lincoln University Hunters v Prebbleton Penguins
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