4 Aug 2008

Opening round of upsets as NZRU ponder cuts

11:52 am on 4 August 2008

The opening round of rugby's provincial championship has ended as it started, with an upset.

Counties Manukau defeated 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.

The wins by the provincial minnows come 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 the New Zealand Rugby Union so its team could continue in the competition.

A decision on the changes is expected mid week.