Afternoon rugby returns to Taranaki as the draw for the 2020 Mitre 10 Cup has been announced by the New Zealand Rugby Union.

All of Yarrows Taranaki Bulls five home games, at TET Stadium, Inglewood, will be played on either a Saturday or Sunday afternoon kicking off at 2.05pm.

The move in the schedule is because the lights at the venue do not meet broadcast quality standards for evening matches.

Inglewood will be the home of the Bulls this season as work on earthquake-prone Yarrow Stadium due to commence in June.


The Bulls will play in four cross-over matches where they will play Premiership teams and the remaining games will be against Championship sides.

The draw has been split evenly with five home and five away matches.

Taranaki will start their Mitre 10 Cup campaign at home against Championship winners, now Premiership side, Bay of Plenty, on Sunday August 9.

Five days later, Taranaki will have a chance to win the Ranfurly Shield, for the seventh time, when they play Canterbury in Christchurch in week two of the competition.

The last time these two teams met in a Shield match was in 2017 where Taranaki was involved in an historic Ranfurly Shield comeback and took the Log 'o Wood off the red and blacks.

At the end of August, Taranaki hosts Otago, in a potential Ranfurly Shield match, and then is away to Northland on a Friday night.

For the third time in-a-row, Auckland travels to Taranaki in early September. The clash has ended up being a tight tussle over the last few years.

The Bulls then have two consecutive matches away to Southland and Waikato in the middle of September before hosting Counties Manukau.


The remaining two matches for Taranaki are against Manawatū away and Hawke's Bay in Inglewood.

Yarrows Taranaki Bulls head coach Willie Rickards says he is pleased with the draw and is looking forward to daytime rugby in Inglewood.

"Daytime rugby is really exciting for our team, especially at home. Our fans are important and provide great support that really lifts the team. We are hoping they support the Bulls at Inglewood this year at more family-friendly times."

Taranaki Rugby Chief Executive Laurence Corlett says he appreciates the support from New Zealand Rugby (NZR) during the draw formation process.

"NZR has been extremely accommodating for us as we have moved to a new venue for the season. Obviously, we can't play night rugby at home but daytime weekend rugby will be fantastic for families and farmers who are around where our games are played. It's worked out really well for us."

Laurence says he is looking forward to the atmosphere at TET Stadium this season.


"Our staff is working really hard to ensure we provide an entertaining atmosphere in Inglewood for the season. We want to accommodate families to the die-hard supporter."

In the lead up to the Mitre 10 Cup, Taranaki will play three pre-season matches against Manawatu, Auckland and Waikato. A wider training squad will assemble during the CMK club competition and a squad announced prior to the first match of the season.

In weeks two, four and five, which are test match weekends, NZR and Sky will be trialling having two Friday matches kicking off simultaneously at 7:05pm.

The Mitre 10 Cup starts on Thursday August 6 when North Harbour host Canterbury in Albany.