Rugby: Otago may have shot at Shield

The Ranfurly Shield.
The Ranfurly Shield.
Otago may have a Ranfurly Shield challenge next year after electing to play Waikato.

The 14 provincial unions carried out the process of selecting crossover games for next year's ITM Cup yesterday, and Otago ended up with a good mixture.

Through the match-ups of the top-ranked unions playing the bottom through the two divisions, Otago was already set to play Bay of Plenty at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

It then had the choice of an opponent at home and decided to pick Auckland.

As it made the final of the championship, Otago only had the choice of picking from two teams and plumped for the Aucklanders over Wellington.

Canterbury then decided to pick Otago as an opponent, so the teams will clash in Christchurch.

The rivals did not meet this season.

The final pick for Otago was to play an opponent away and it chose Waikato, which has the Ranfurly Shield.

Hawkes Bay had first pick of the championship sides but decided against choosing Waikato, deciding on Bay of Plenty. Otago leaped at the chance at a possible Ranfurly Shield challenge.

Otago last held the Shield in 1957, and last had a challenge in 2010.

Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley was happy with the draw and said it was a bonus to get a challenge.

The full draw will be finalised in the new year and it would not be known until then when Otago would face Waikato. It did not play Waikato this year.

The selection means Otago will not play Taranaki for the third year in a row.