Preview: ITM Cup, Round Three

Date published: August 26 2015

Round Three's ITM Cup Premiership action starts on Thursday with tabletoppers Tasman hosting Manawatu in Blenheim.

Tasman, who finished as runners up in 2014, have made a fine start to their 2015 campaign and are unbeaten after two matches. Manawatu, won last year's ITM Cup Championship, are chasing their first win of their new campaign.

Two of the traditional heavyweights of New Zealand rugby, Auckland and Canterbury, will face off at Eden Park on Saturday in what promises to be a thrilling encounter.

In other action, Counties Manukau will host Hawke's Bay at Pukekohe on Friday, defending champions Taranaki will be looking to claim their first win of the season when they take on Otago in New Plymouth on Saturday, and Waikato travel to Tauranga where they will face Bay of Plenty on Sunday.

ITM Cup Premiership, Round Three fixtures

Tasman v Manawatu

Date: Thursday, August 27
Venue: Lansdowne Park, Blenheim
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Glen Jackson

Played: 8 times between 2006-2013
Tasman wins: 6
Manawatu wins: 2
Last match: Tasman 57 Manawatu 14, 13.10.2013 in Nelson
Last Manawatu win: Manawatu 27 Tasman 23, 25.08.11 in Nelson

Counties-Manukau vs Hawke's Bay

Date: Friday, August 28
Venue: ECOLight Stadium, Pukekohe
Kick-off: 19:35 local (07:35 GMT)
Referee: Aki Aso

Played: 51 times between 1956-2014
Counties Manukau wins: 22
Hawke's Bay wins: 28
Draws: 1
Last match: Hawke's Bay 27 Counties Manukau 21, 30.08.14 in Pukekohe
Last Counties Manukau win: Counties Manukau 27 Hawke's Bay 24, 07.09.13 in Napier

Auckland vs Canterbury

Date: Saturday, August 29
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off: 14:35 local (02:35 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock

Played: 95 times between 1883-2014
Auckland wins: 47
Canterbury wins: 43
Draws: 5
Last match: Canterbury 48 Auckland 9, 16.08.14 in Christchurch
Last Auckland win: Auckland 39 Canterbury 19, 28.09.13 in Auckland

Taranaki v Otago

Date: Saturday, August 29
Venue: Yarrow Stadium, New Plymouth
Kick-off: 17:35 local (05:35 GMT)
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown

Played: 58 times between 1896-2010
Taranaki wins: 26
Otago wins: 30
Draws: 2
Last match: Taranaki 25 Otago 15, 26.08.10 in Dunedin
Last Otago win: Otago 18 Taranaki 15, 18.08.07 in New Plymouth

Bay of Plenty vs Waikato

Date: Sunday, August 30
Venue:Tauranga Domain, Tauranga
Kick-off: 14:35 local (02:35 GMT)
Referee: Mike Fraser

Played: 77 times between 1921-2014
Bay of Plenty wins: 24
Waikato wins: 49
Draws: 4
Last match: Waikato 29 Bay of Plenty 12, 09.10.14 in Hamilton
Last Bay of Plenty win: Bay of Plenty 36 Waikato 8, 26.07.11 in Rotorua