Each region operates its own different qualification system.
The Northland and North Harbour champions meet, with the winner of that match facing the Auckland champion.
Each regional province determines their own winner, followed by a knockout bracket.
The winner and runner-up of the Wellington Premiership and the top-two region schools that play in the Super 8 competition play in a seeded knockout. A ‘challenger’ place is available to any region school that does not play in either competition, with that match taking place prior to the seeded matches.
South Island: The winner of the match between the Crusaders winner and the Highlanders winner. The Crusaders winner is the top side from the region-wide UC Championship, while since the Highlanders-region competition was discontinued after 2015 a provincial-based knockout format has been used.
These four teams then have two semi finals with the winners advancing to the National 1st XV Final. The semifinal matchups change each year; for example, the Blues winner plays the Hurricanes winner one year, the Chiefs winner the next, and finally the South Island winner in rotation.
Some titles have been shared. There have been calls for overtime to be included to determine an outright winner, but this is currently not allowed for under World Rugby’s Under-19 variations. In the event of a drawn semi-final, the team that advances is determined by a hierarchy of factors starting with which team scored the most tries in the match.
Before: New Zealand National 1st XV Secondary Schools competition The National First XV Championship is ultimately broken down via the Top 4. The Top 4 is made up of the 4 main franchises/regions: 1. Blues,
4. South Island. Prior to the Top 4 competition, schools first must compete in their local/provincial competitions. Once provincial Champions are determined they then enter into their regional/franchise playoff. This determines the regional/franchise Champion that will represent that region/franchise at Top 4. Each region/franchise is made up of the following: Blues:
1. Northland Champion,
2. North Harbour Champion,
3. Auckland Champion. Chiefs:
1. Counties Champion,
2. Bay of Plenty Champion
3. Waikato Champion Hurricanes:
1. Poverty Bay Champion,
2. Hawkes Bay Champion,
3. Manawatu Champion,
4. Taranaki Champion,
5. Wellington Champion. South Island:
This region is arranged slightly different as it is a merger of the Press Cup (Crusaders) Competition and the Highlanders Competition: A. Press Cup (Crusaders):
1. Nelson Bays,
3. West Coast,
4. Canterbury. B. Highlanders:
1. North Otago,
3. Southland The winners of the Press Cup (Crusaders) and the Highlanders competitions play in a one off final to determine the South Island Champion. The winners of the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes and the South Island franchises make up The Top Four. These 4 teams then have 2 semis finals with the winners advancing to the National 1st XV Final.