Plenty of daylight scheduled for Tasman in favourable NPC rugby draw

Tasman's David Havili can expect plenty of daytime action during this year's NPC campaign.

Tasman's David Havili can expect plenty of daytime action during this year's NPC campaign.

The Tasman Makos should have plenty of sun on their backs this season with four afternoon matches scheduled for their 2017 Mitre 10 Cup provincial rugby campaign.

This season's draw was officially released on Wednesday and after a tough opening home game against last year's champions Canterbury on Friday, August 18, Tasman play the first of their four afternoon games against Manawatu at 2.35pm on Sunday, August 27 in Palmerston North.

They also play Waikato in Hamilton at 2.35pm on Sunday, September 3, with their third afternoon match scheduled for Sunday, September 10, at home, against Wellington. They'll also meet Auckland on Sunday afternoon, October 8, at home.

Tasman also have 4.35pm starts against Otago away in week five on Saturday, September 16 and against Southland the following week at home on Sunday, September 24.

"I think if you look at it from Leon's [head coach Leon MacDonald] perspective, he's got lots of day games which he's excited about," Tasman chief executive Tony Lewis said .

"It's not about making the semifinals, it's about making sure you that you don't go down and that's why the first four or five games are key. So, it is what it is and there's no easy games in our draw and we just plug away and see where we go.

"What will be will be, we just want the crowd to get out there and support them."

However, the Ranfurly Shield, currently held by Canterbury, again looks likely to elude Tasman, with their best chance resting with Otago upsetting the holders in Christchurch on Sunday, August 27.

At a glance

Friday, August 18, 7.35pm - v Canterbury (home); Sunday, August 27, 2.35pm - v Manawatu (away); Sunday, September 3, 2.35pm - v Waikato (away); Sunday, September 10, 2.35pm - v Wellington (home); Saturday, September 16, 4.35pm - v Otago (away); Sunday, September 24, 4.35pm - v Southland (home); Thursday, September 28, 7.35pm - v Taranaki (away); Wednesday, October 4, 7.35pm - v North Harbour (home); Sunday, October 8, 2.35pm - v Auckland (home); Saturday, October 14, 7.35pm - v Counties Manukau (away); semifinals - Friday, October 20 and Saturday, October 21; final - Saturday, October 28, 7.35pm.

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