1 Aug

NPC 2001 – Division One Preview
by Euan Kilgour
1 Aug 2001

Now that the dust is settling from a turbulent S12 for NZ franchises, the business end of the NZ rugby season is nearing kick off. As we have seen in recent times the NPC First Division is one hot ticket with the rugby faithful of NZ and the large number of expats living overseas, and the competition this year looks to be as good if not better than last year.

There are a number of exciting prospects to look forward to:

Just how far as Canterbury Rugby fallen? The Ranfurly Shield holders will have to be at their best to repel challenges this year from Auckland, Wellington, Taranaki, the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.

How much will the Blues poor S12 performance affect Aucklands performance in the NPC?

Harbour this year have regained an old hand in Glenn Osbourne, are they going to realise their potential and become a real threat?

Who is this Bay of Plenty team and what role will they bring to the First Division, an easy 5 points or a real test of a sides ability?

Northland and Taranaki have always been dark horses. Will they be able to go all the way in spite of continual plundering of their talent by other unions?

Will Southland finally get themselves off the bottom of the table?

How will Waikato go playing at home at Westpac Trust Park because the Rugby Park upgrades have struck a few snags?

These questions and more will become apparent after a few rounds, but I for one am definitely looking forward to the start of the best national rugby union competition in the world.

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