Wairarapa-Bush will face King Country in their first away game of the season, one of five opponents they will meet for the second consecutive season. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

CHRIS COGDALE
chris.cogdale@age.co.nz

Wairarapa-Bush will kick off their Heartland Championship campaign with a home game against Lochore Cup runner-up West Coast on August 22.

In what appears to be a generous draw, last year’s Meads Cup semifinalist will play the four teams that failed to make either the Meads Cup or Lochore Cup play offs – Horowhenua-Kapiti, King Country, Mid Canterbury and East Coast.

The Horowhenua-Kapiti game will be played at the unusual venue of Shannon.

Other features include away trips to 2019 Lochore Cup champions South Canterbury and perennial Heartland favourites and last year’s beaten Meads Cup finalist Wanganui.

Thames Valley, who topped the Heartland Championship after the round-robin and Wanganui are the two top four teams Wai-Bush will meet.

The first to fourth place teams will play off for the Meads Cup, while the fifth to eighth place teams will contest the Lochore Cup.

The semifinals will be played on October 17, with the finals to be played over Labour Weekend.

Wairarapa-Bush draw for 2019

Heartland Championship

August 22                        West Coast, at Masterton

August 29                        King Country, Te Kuiti

September 5                    Horowhenua-Kapiti, Shannon

September 12                  East Coast, Masterton

September 19                 Thames Valley, Masterton

September 26                 South Canterbury, Timaru

October 3                       Wanganui, Wanganui

October 10                     Mid Canterbury, Masterton