When the focus shifted from Super Rugby towards International Rugby, many of the wider-rugby community were left with a limited selection. Down on options, to avoid the risk of some fans taking up with another code, there will soon be a ‘domestic rugby distraction’ in the form of the Mitre 10 Cup 2019 schedule.
The high frequency, national provincial championship program incorporates a broad spectrum of regions. From north to south, the elite Premiership, to the Heartland Rugby Championship. Matches played at stadiums, to sports grounds and country fields that bring the community together. It is a fine distraction from the high-pressure atmosphere of the Bledisloe Cup, to rugby on par with the second tier Premiership or French rugby levels, or Currie Cup standard.
This is the level from where new talents emerge, yet for many of the semi-professional and amateur players, this is their peak season. What they have been training for after their club seasons end, and true some may find this the highest grade they reach – a terrific achievement in all reality. And a memory they and their teammates, will treasure.
For others, it is a dress rehearsal towards securing Super Rugby contracts. And from there, you can attract the attention of both fans and selectors.
Domestic rugby distraction in Mitre 10 Cup 2019
It will all kick off in the deep south with the Southland Stags taking on their most distant rivals; the Northland Taniwha, in the Mitre 10 Cup 2019 opener on Thursday August 8.
STORY | The #Mitre10Cup was launched at Koru School in Mangere this morning, where players planted trees with the students.
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Only 9 sleeps until kick off!! pic.twitter.com/5W7vmr7zkP
— Mitre 10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) July 30, 2019
The Mitre 10 Cup will run for 10 weeks of round-robin with matches played between Thursday and Sunday, following the removal of Wednesday night fixtures from the draw. The 12 Heartland Rugby sides kick into action two weeks later on Saturday August 24, with teams vying for the prestigious Meads and Lochore Cups.
“Every year, across both competitions, we see hardened veterans play alongside and against emerging stars and that is just a small part of what makes these competitions a much-loved piece of the rugby calendar,” New Zealand Rugby chief rugby officer Nigel Cass said in a media release.
It will be a type of ‘distraction form the drama’ of the Rugby World Cup in September. With New Zealand fans always apprehensive ahead of the pinnacle event, being able to have a slight distractioniis a healthy option. Change your ‘rugby dket’ and head along to support your province. It will also be a great place for fans to meet and to discuss how the All Blacks are progressing.
With the same goals of the national team [victory], all Mitre 10 Cup sides must aim to be present in the post-season. The format for the Mitre 10 Cup 2019 draw ultimately sees the top four teams in the premiership and championship progress to the semifinals on October, with 18/19 the Finals the following weekend.
Click here to download the draw.
Enticing first up matches also see defending champions Auckland (2018 Premiership winners) take on neighbours North Harbour in the ‘Battle of the Bridge’. A local derby spread across the Cook Strait, sees Tasman hosting Wellington, before cross-country encounter between Manawatu and Hawke’s Bay.
The Mitre 10 Heartland Championship kicks off on August 24, with the Farah Palmer Cup in action from August 32.
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