2009 Air New Zealand Cup

The 2009 Air New Zealand Cup was the 33rd provincial rugby union competition, the fourth since the competition reconstruction in 2006, involving the top 14 provincial unions in New Zealand. It ran for 15 weeks from 30 July to 7 November. It was also the last edition of the provincial competition to use the Air New Zealand Cup name, as the competition's sponsorship contract with Air New Zealand ended after that season. The 2010 competition will be held under a new name, the ITM Cup.

Unlike previous seasons the 2009 Air New Zealand Cup did not have quarterfinals in their finals format, instead going straight to the semifinals with the top four teams rather than the top eight.

Canterbury were the eventual champions, winning their second title in a row and their seventh overall, it was the first time Canterbury had gone back-to-back in the provincial championship. They beat Wellington, 28 – 20, at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on 7 November. Wellington were down 18 – 3 at halftime but came back to close the scores to 25 – 20 in Canterbury's favour, but a late penalty goal by Stephen Brett put Wellington out of reach and gave Canterbury the win and the championship.

Doubts were raised throughout the season with serious support coming from the four teams likely to be axed, Counties Manukau, Northland, Manawatu, and Tasman, and their supporters, while the financial sustainability of the two unions who were to be promoted to the new first division was questioned. On 11 December the New Zealand Rugby Union decided to stick with the 14 team Air New Zealand Cup and the 12 team Heartland Championship format through 2010.

Read more about 2009 Air New Zealand Cup:  Round Robin, Finals, Ranfurly Shield, Pre-season Fixtures, Stadiums, Referees, See Also

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