The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has congratulated the pride of South Auckland with the Counties Manukau Steelers taking the ITM Cup Championship honours and promotion into next year's ITM Cup Premiership.
The Steelers claimed the ITM Cup Championship honours after downing the Otago Razorbacks 41 - 16 at Pukekohe's ECOLight Stadium tonight.
NZRU Chief Executive Steve Tew said: "This Final has been a fantastic contest, and a great demonstration of provincial rivalry and pride. I congratulate Coach Tana Umaga, who in his first year at the helm has guided the Steelers through an impressive season and a fantastic end to their 2012 campaign. They certainly gave their loud and colourful home crowd something to celebrate.
"I know Otago will be disappointed to not come away with the win, but considering their difficult off-season, it has been amazing to see them turn up at Pukekohe and get up for a Final. I congratulate them on a great 2012 season."
Counties Manukau will be promoted into next year's ITM Cup Premiership with this year's Premiership wooden spooners Hawke's Bay heading back to the Championship in 2013 after a one year upgrade.
Tomorrow Canterbury host Auckland at Christchurch's AMI Stadium (Addington) for the Final of the ITM Cup Premiership.