There are two divisions with the Premiership having Auckland, Wellington, Canterbury, Counties Manukau, Waikato and Manawatu while the Championship has Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay and Otago being joined for the first time by Tasman and North Harbour.
Each team has one game against the other teams in their division with two “cross over” games played against a Championship and Premiership team in weeks one and six.
Every team in the Championship division have a bye weekend plus two teams in the Premiership (Counties and Manawatu). Bonus points will be crucial to both teams when it comes to the business end of the tournament. This is because there are an odd number of teams in the Cup and both Counties and Manawatu look like they drew the short straws.
The top four teams in the Premiership go into the semi finals weekend (Sat 21st Oct) with 2nd placed playing 3rd and 1st placed playing 4th. The top team in the Championship get a reprieve and can enjoy watching 2nd and 3rd place battle it out to see who plays against them in the finals.
Finals weekend (Sat 28th Oct) sees semi-final winner one take on semi-final winner two for the Farah Palmer Cup in the Premiership division while the first placed Championship team take on the semi-final winner from the previous week. The team that wins that game moves up to the Premiership next year and has bragging rights for the next 12 months.