The Canterbury Bulls may have had the best start to the National Premiership winning two from three games, but a 34-14 loss to the reigning Champions Akarana in round four has bumped the Bulls out of grand final contention.

Counties Manukau will take on Akarana in a rematch of the 2016 Premiership final on 6 October following the promotion and relegation deciding game. Although Akarana are defending champions, round three’s result between the two Auckland sides (36-22) had Counties come out on top which should make for a highly contested grand final showdown.

The National Championship went down to the wire with a 26-all round three result between the Otago Whalers and Northern Swords, but it didn’t end there. Otago and Northern battled it out for a chance to challenge the fourth place National Premiership team in a promotion and relegation game that, if won by the challenger, would see them move up into the National Premiership for the 2018 season.

Not even points differential could separate the Northern and Otago sides resulting in the Northern Swords going through to the match of their lives on point percentage.

National Premiership

Round three

Akarana 34 Canterbury 14

Waikato 22 Counties 46

  Played Win Lost Draw Scored Against Points Pts  diff %
NATIONAL PREMIERSHIP                  
AKARANA FALCONS 3 2 1 0 102 56 4 46 182%
COUNTIES MANUKAU STINGRAYS 3 2 1 0 100 64 4 36 156%
CANTERBURY BULLS 3 2 1 0 86 58 4 28 148%
WAIKATO 3 0 3 0 34 144 0 -110 24%

National Championship

Round three

Otago 26 Northern 26


Finals fixtures next week 

National Premiership Grand Final

Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

4pm, 6 October

Akarana v Counties


Promotion/Relegation game

Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland

2pm, 6 October