The Tasman Makos are set to face the Canterbury Rams in the first game of the season, following their 2016 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final loss. Photo by: Barry Whitnall/Shuttersport Limited

Makos to host Canterbury first up

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Tasman Makos will kick off its Mitre 10 Cup campaign with a Friday night home game against rivals and defending champions Canterbury at Trafalgar Park.

The draw for this year’s Mitre 10 Cup was released this morning and shows the Makos to host Canterbury on August 18.

Other Nelson games are against Wellington on Sunday, September 10 and against Auckland on Sunday, October 8.

Other home games in Blenheim will feature the Makos hosting North Harbour and Southland.

New Zealand Rugby’s Head of Provincial Union Rugby, Steve Lancaster, said the Mitre 10 Cup and Mitre 10 Heartland Championship are home to great provincial rivalries and rugby heritage.

“Provincial rugby games were first played in New Zealand more than 140 years ago, and those historic rivalries are very much alive today. Be it the old geographic rivalry of Otago and Southland or the more modern Battle of the Bridge between Auckland and North Harbour, these provincial rugby competitions have helped shaped our local identities and provide an opportunity for New Zealanders to show their parochialism and back their local teams with pride.

“Over 30 Mitre 10 Cup players were selected for Investec Super Rugby teams for the first time this year, highlighting the great breeding ground the provincial competition continues to be and the important role it plays in developing the next generation of All Blacks.

“This season sees some great Ranfurly Shield challenges lined up with Canterbury seeking to defend the log of wood in pre-season games against Wanganui and Mid Canterbury before taking on Otago, Southland, Counties Manukau, Waikato and Taranaki.”