Tasman will face old rivals Canterbury in the opening match of the Mitre 10 Cup in Blenheim on August 17.
As we head into mid-July you realise how quickly our Mako Mitre 10 Cup season is coming round.
In a month's time on August 17, the Tasman Mako will be lining up for the first match of the Mitre 10 Cup season against the old rival and the team that beat us in last year's final, Canterbury.
The game is a night match, under the lights at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim, with kick off scheduled for 7.35pm. It will no doubt be a great encounter and an ideal way for fans to get into the groove for another provincial season.
Before the Mako sink their teeth into another Mitre 10 Cup campaign, preseason is the priority. Our local contracted non-Super players start their preparations in a few weeks after the finish of the local NPD club competition. These players will be then joined by our Super Rugby players by the end of the preseason programme.
The Mako have two Mitre 10 preseason matches scheduled, against Manawatu and Wellington respectively. The Manawatu clash takes place on August 3 at a neutral venue in Porirua and will provide a really stern test for our wider Mako squad which will likely include some local club players.
Tasman Rugby and the Mako are really excited about the final preseason match which is set to be played in Renwick on Thursday August 9. This match against Wellington mirrors the clash we had with our capital neighbours last season in Seddon.
The Mako will be in and around Renwick and the wider community for a few days for this match and will be looking forward to assimilating themselves into local schools, rest homes, key stakeholders businesses and other key community groups.
The Renwick Rugby Club will be running the match day at the Renwick Recreation Reserve to raise funds which will go towards an upgrade to their floodlights. Anyone interested in taking their work colleagues, family or friends along for the match to can visit the club's Facebook page for all the information you'll need.
In terms of the Mako squad for 2018, it looks pretty strong again, with a good balance of experience and youth. A lot of our final make up will depend on which platers are selected in the All Black squad for the Investec Championship and which Mako come from local club rugby.
First though, Blenheim hosts Canterbury followed by the visit of Southland in the Mako second game on Sunday August 26 at 2.05pm. What an awesome way to kick off the new season for local fans.