Tuesday, March 7, 2017
This Mitre 10 Cup kicks off on 17 August with the ultimate grudge match as the winners of promotion into the Premiership North Harbour, take on Otago, the team they edged out in the Championship Final last year. The opening round also sees a repeat of the Premiership Final with Tasman seeking to reverse their result against champions Canterbury.
The Mitre 10 Cup Heartland Championship begins the following weekend on 26 August with last year’s Meads Cup champions Wanganui taking on Wairarapa Bush and Lochore Cup winners North Otago up against Horowhenua Kapiti.
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.”
Mitre 10 Cup action kicks off first on Thursday 17 August with North Harbour taking on Otago at QBE Stadium in Round 1 in a repeat of last year’s Championship Final.
The 2017 Mitre 10 Cup plays across nine weeks with every team playing one Wednesday night fixture in a double-up round where they play twice that week.
The semifinals will be played on 20-21 October, with the Mitre 10 Cup Championship Final to be played on Friday 27 October and the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final on Saturday 28 October.
The Mitre 10 Heartland Championship once again plays in an eight-week competition to determine which four of the 12 teams compete for the Meads Cup and which four compete for the Lochore Cup.
The Lochore Cup and Meads Cup semifinals will be played on 21 October with the Finals for both to be played on 28 October.
Mitre 10 Cup matches will be broadcast on SKY Sport.
The 2017 Draws