7 Apr 2015

ITM Cup fixtures announced

6:22 pm on 7 April 2015

The defending ITM Cup Premiership champions Taranaki will host Wellington to open their season when the cup kicks off in mid-August.

Taranaki celebrate winning the ITM Cup Premiership Final.

Taranaki celebrate winning the ITM Cup Premiership Final. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The fixture list also pairs Otago and Canterbury in Dunedin on the opening weekend.

Meanwhile, the Ranfurly Shield holders Hawke's Bay will avoid having to defend the log of wood against the Premiership's top three teams from last season.

Barring any shocking preseason upsets, they'll defend the shield in week one against Northland, and potentially against North Harbour, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Waikato later on.

The defending Championship winners Manawatu open their campaign against Counties-Manukau, while Auckland and Canterbury will meet in the third week of the cup.

Week one fixtures:

Thursday, 7.35pm, Southland v Auckland, Rugby Park, Invercargill.

Friday, 6.05pm, Waikato v Tasman, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton.

Friday, 8.05pm, Bay of Plenty v North Harbour, TBA, TBA.

Saturday, 2.35pm, Taranaki v Wellington, Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth.

Saturday, 4.35pm, Otago v Canterbury, Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin.

Sunday, 2.35pm, Counties Manukau v Manawatu, ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe.

Sunday, 4.35pm, Hawke's Bay v Northland, (RS) McLean Park, Napier.