Turbos preseason schedule shapes up
The Turbos’ preseason schedule will include matches against Hawke’s Bay, Wellington and Tasman including one in Feilding ahead of the national provincial championship this year.
Manawatu coach Jeremy Cotter confirmed the match-ups as he continues the build-up in his first season in charge of the team.
Cotter moved from assistant to head coach at the end of last season to replace Jason O’Halloran, who took an assistant coaching job with Scotland.
He is in the middle of his second block of wider training group sessions, which run two nights a week.
More than 50 players are included, but he said they normally have about 30 at each session due to work commitments and injuries.
They will continue for a couple of weeks before having a break to focus on club rugby.
Cotter said a third wider training group session would likely run with smaller numbers later in the club season.
That squad would work towards a game between the Manawatu Evergreens and the Hawke’s Bay Saracens in Palmerston North on June 29.
‘‘That will give us the chance to have a look at these guys who have been working hard in the wider training group,’’ he said.
But players who miss out on that game could still be given chances to make the team through more wider training group sessions.
Their official preseason starts with a game against Hawke’s Bay in Napier on July 30.
They then take on Wellington in Feilding on August 7, before heading to a camp in Nelson which ends with a game against Tasman on August 12.
But first Cotter will be keeping a watchful eye over club games as he looks to fill out his squad.
Halfway through the Manawatu club competition, he said the standard of play had been improving.
‘‘One of the reasons that I was really concerned about us going forward into the Mitre 10 Cup was the players’ seeming inability to keep their feet at the breakdown,’’ he said.
‘‘I think that it is improving as players get fitter and as they they get used to the style of play they are playing, the conditions and the referees as well.
Their season kicks off proper against Northland in Whangarei on August 19.
Manawatu preseason schedule:
June 29 – Manawatu Evergreens v Hawke’s Bay Saracens, Palmerston North July 30 – Manawatu v Hawke’s Bay, Napier August 7 – Manawatu v Wellington, Feilding August 12 – Manawatu v Tasman, Nelson
The Turbos’ preseason schedule includes a match against Wellington in Feilding.