The 2018 Mitre 10 Cup schedule has been announced, with the competition set to kick off on Thursday August, 16.
Waikato’s season gets underway against Manawatu at Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North on Saturday, August 18, from 2.35pm.
Waikato will host North Harbour (Saturday 25 August) and Wellington (Wednesday 5 September) in its first two home games at FMG Stadium Waikato, before facing Hawkes Bay (Thursday 13 September) and Southland (Saturday 29 September), with Waikato’s final home game against Otago (Saturday 13 October).
The remaining away matches will be against Auckland (Thursday 30th August), a potential Ranfurly Shield challenge against current holders Taranaki (Sunday 9 September), before again taking on Bay of Plenty (Friday 21 September) and Northland (Saturday 6 October) back on their home turf.
The competition will be played across nine weeks with five home and five away games before semifinals and finals.
Young local talent shines
Former Hamilton Boys High School and New Zealand Secondary Schools captain Quinn Tupaea has signed with Waikato for the upcoming 2018 Mitre 10 Cup season.
Tupaea, 19, is a talented young rugby player with a strong and physical presence on the field in both 15’s and 7’s. In 2017 he captained the Hamilton Boys High School 1st XV to a shared Super 8 title, led the team to a national title game appearance and led the seven’s side to their third consecutive Condor 7s title.
His form also saw him gain selection for the 2017 New Zealand Secondary Schools team, in which he was named captain. Earlier this year Quinn was co-winner of the Secondary Schools Sportsman of the Year award at the Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards.
“Quinn Tupaea is a local product and he has been on our radar for some time coming through our emerging players programmes,” says Waikato CEO Blair Foote. “He is a player with incredible talent, in defence he is solid and physical and is a destructive runner when he has ball in hand.
“He was a player we did not want to lose to another region, so to be able to have him join our high performance team was a top priority for us.”
Quinn Tupaea played junior rugby for Southwell before playing for Hamilton Boys High School and in 2018 has featured for Hamilton Old Boys in the Premier Club Rugby competition.