All eyes on Manawatu inshield game

Otago players may head straight for the television screen after tonight’s game against Hawke’s Bay as the side eyes a crack at the Ranfurly Shield.

Almost straight after the conclusion of the match at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Taranaki is set to host Manawatu in a match in New Plymouth.

The game also doubles as a Ranfurly Shield challenge.

Taranaki will be keen to hold on to the shield having won it off Canterbury late last season. In its first defence last season,  it defeated Manawatu 46-25.

Manawatu has not held the trophy for 40 years so it will be keen to log a competitive challenge.

Otago players and supporters will be cheering for the challenger.

If Manawatu does take the log o’ wood, its first challenge will be from Otago next Saturday afternoon in Palmerston North.

Otago challenged for the shield last year when it ran Canterbury close,before losing 30-24.The match at Yarrow Stadium tonight is unchartered waters for the Taranaki union.

Engineers reports have closed down the two main stands at the ground although the corporate facilities, toilets and media facilities in one of the stands will be in operation.

The crowd will have to watch the game from the two ends of the stadium, which have been deserted for most provincial games in recent years. Fine weather is forecast for tonight.

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