By Peter Jones [Marlborough Weekly / Marlborough App]
The Tasman Mako were handed home games against
Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Southland and Canterbury when the
revised Mitre 10 Cup provincial rugby draw was released by NZR.
The defending champs will meet Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Southland at
Trafalgar Park in Nelson, while fixtures against Northland and Canterbury at
Lansdowne Park in Blenheim will bookend their home fixture list. The
Southland showdown was originally pencilled in for Motueka, but is now
scheduled for Trafalgar Park.
The Mitre 10 Cup will start on September 11 and run for 12
weeks, it was confirmed by NZ Rugby today.
With NZ Rugby deciding against Thursday matches this year, seven games
will be squeezed into three days. One match will be played Friday, then three
on both Saturday and Sunday. Two games will be played at 2.05pm each Sunday.
The semifinals are set down for November 20-21, with the finals a
week later on November 27-28.
NZR said that Sky TV were committed to broadcasting
two matches a week free-to-air on Prime, but did not say whether
they would be live or delayed.
The Ranfurly Shield will officially go on the line in August
with holders Canterbury defending against Heartland side North Otago
on August 28. Should Canterbury win, they are scheduled to put the
shield on the line against Taranaki, Wellington, Waikato, Otago and
Auckland in their home NPC games.