The Heartland Championship started in 2006 as a progression on from the NPC, which had started in 1976.
From 2006 until 2010 there were 12 teams, split into 2 pools of 6 teams each. Each team played the others in the pool and at the end of these matches the top 3 teams in each pool combined to play in the Meads Cup. The other 3 teams in each pool combined to play in the Lochore Cup.
Each team then played the other 3 teams that they had not already played. Following this the top 4 teams in each competition played semi-finals and a final.
In 2011 the format was changed. There was only 1 pool of 12 teams. Teams played 8 of the other teams, after which the top 4 (teams 1-4 on the table) went into the Meads Cup and the next 4 (teams 5-8 on the table) went into the Lochore Cup. There were semi-finals and a final for each competition.
The winner of the Meads Cup could gain promotion to the ITM Cup Championship competition.
In 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 the format stayed the same. In 2016, the format remained the same but the scoring system was changed. The new points were: 8 pts for a penalty try (no conversion kick required); 6 pts for a try; 2 pts for a penalty, conversion or drop goal.
Heartland Championship Teams