4 Aug 2008

Major upsets in Air New Zealand Cup

5:46 am on 4 August 2008

The opening round of Rugby's provincial championship has ended as it started with an upset -- with Counties Manukau defeating last year's unbeaten champions Auckland 17-6 at Pukekohe.

It was the third big surprise win of the round following Northland's 18-10 triumph over Waikato on Thursday night and then Manawatu's 25-24 win over Canterbury on Saturday.

he wins by the provincial minnows comes just as the New Zealand Rugby board spent the weekend discussing which unions will be chopped from the competition next year.

Smaller unions have found the competition too expensive with the Tasman union last week being granted a six figure bail out by New Zealand Rugby so its team could continue in the competition.

A decision on changes is expected to be announced mid week.