Mitre 10 Cup 2018: Tasman v Canterbury Preview

Rugby player passes ball

Reigning Premiership champions Canterbury will get their title defence started on Friday with a tricky away clash against Tasman.

Canterbury will be looking to make a fast start to their 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign when they square off with local rivals Tasman. This will be a repeat of last year's Premiership Final, which saw Canterbury run out 35-13 victors.

Can Tasman avenge their final defeat or will Canterbury once again prove too strong for their near neighbours?

Tasman v Canterbury
Lansdowne Park
Friday 17 August

To Win (80 Mins)
Tasman 26/10
Draw 21/1
Canterbury 3/10

The Makos will be pretty keen to get one over their local rivals here as they went down to Canterbury twice last year. The round-robin phase fixture saw Tasman handed an absolute rugby lesson with Canterbury running out 0-39 victors. And while their second clash - the aforementioned final - was a lot tighter, Canterbury were still the dominant force running out 35-13 victors.

History may not repeat itself here, however, as Canterbury are missing quite a few of their stars from last year's campaign while the Makos haven't been as hard hit by All Black call-ups.

This weekend's hosts have a very solid squad, which contains the likes of Crusaders lock Quentin Strange and Chiefs star Solomon Alaimalo. They also have Crusaders boys David Havilli and Mitchell Hunt to call upon this Friday.

The most successful side in the competition are in for a much tougher time of it this season with key cogs in their 2017 title success Richie Mo'unga, Jack Goodhue and Scott Barrett now fully entrenched in the All Blacks squad.

The trio were absolutely remarkable last season, and it will be interesting to see if Canterbury can still produce the immaculate rugby they have, for the past three years, with these players unavailable for the majority of the campaign.

You cannot write Canterbury's chances off just because they are missing these star men, though. The region is notorious for producing young talent, and we may just see some future stars in the making light up the field on Friday.

Speaking of young prodigies, All Black Under 20 captain Tom Christie is set to play a key role this season. The talented loose forward enjoyed a solid showing in France and will now look to kick on during the Mitre 10 Cup.

Verdict: Tasman 26/10
I reckon Tasman will finally end Canterbury's hoodoo over them. The Makos have a quality squad who are more than capable of getting one over their arch-rivals on home soil.

Written by Darry Worthington for Hollywoodbets

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