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Fans sign-up to save provinces
Scrum.com
November 13, 2009
Jonathan Poff (C) jumps on his Tasman team mates as they celebrate after kicking an injury time drop goal to win the round 2 Air New Zealand Cup match between Waikato and Tasman at Waikato Stadium on August 8, 2008 in Hamilton, New Zealand.
Air New Zealand Cup glory could be a fading hope for Tasman © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Steve Tew
Tournaments/Tours: Air New Zealand Cup
Teams: Manawatu | Tasman

  • A petition with 35,000 signatures seeking to secure the survival of four unions in the Air New Zealand Cup competition is set to be handed into the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU).

    SaveOurTeams will be handing the petition to rugby manager Neil Sorensen at the NZRU head office and includes signatures from the Save the Makos and from the Save the Turbos supporters groups.

    The Tasman Makos and the Manawatu Turbos are the two teams most at risk of losing their spot in the competition.

    And they have the weight of results at the least in their favour as the organisers pointed to the Makos beating Auckland, North Harbour, and Waikato this year, while Manawatu accounted for Otago and North Harbour.

    The petition organisers Kevin Hare and Dave Kirk-Jones call themselves rugby lovers saying that the NZRU is meant to "promote, foster and develop rugby throughout New Zealand" and that culling the smaller teams from the competition is against those principles.

    The NZRU are expected to announce this month which four provinces are to be relegated to the first division in 2011 as the old National Provincial Championship format was likely to change once the 14-team competition was deemed unsustainable.

    Tasman and Northland were threatened with demotion last season but gained a reprieve, however short-lived that might have been. Also in line was Counties-Manukau, who actually rejected a NZRU bailout package earlier this season that had they accepted would have seem them relegated.

  • Paul Delport has been named as captain of the Springbok Sevens squad for the 2009/2010 IRB Sevens World Series. South Africa are currently the defending IRB Sevens Champions and his appointment is a seemingly natural progression after he skippered the SA Schools, national Under-19 and Under-21 teams.

    Delport has played for the Stormers and the Cats in the Super 14 and played for Western Province in the Currie Cup and Vodacom Cup before committing himself to Sevens and is thrilled with the honour of being named captain.

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