The Ranfurly Shield has seen some wonderfully rugged and dour encounters in its 109-year history. This 49-40 win to Taranaki was not one of them.
Taranaki can safely place the Ranfurly Shield under lock and key over the summer after surviving their first challenge by national provincial championship rivals Hawke's Bay today.
Taranaki regained the Ranfurly Shield with a gritty 15-12 victory over Southland in their national provincial championship rugby match in Invercargill last night.
All Black halfback Jimmy Cowan took great delight in pocketing $100 from his skipper Richie McCaw after Southland wrested rugby's Ranfurly Shield off Canterbury for the second time in two years yesterday.
Lightning does indeed strike twice. Just ask national provincial rugby champions Canterbury.
Barry Matthews had no complaints and just one wish after North Otago's Ranfurly Shield loss on Saturday.
Ralph Darling did everything he could to write himself into Ranfurly Shield immortality on Saturday.
All Black hopeful Colin Slade safely negotiated a solid 40 minutes of game-time as Canterbury beat North Otago 52-8 in a pre-season rugby match that doubled as a Ranfurly Shield challenge in Christchurch today.
North Otago will play its 11th Ranfurly Shield challenge when it lines up against a depleted Canterbury side at Rugby Park in Christchurch this afternoon.
Tim Shadbolt retained the mayoralty but another reign ended in Invercargill tonight as Canterbury avenged their concession of the Ranfurly Shield to Southland a year ago with a ruthlessly efficient 26-16 victory at Rugby Park.
Canterbury has been bolstered by the return of All Blacks Owen Franks and Brad Thorn for their first Ranfurly Shield defence against Counties-Manukau in Christchurch on Saturday.
Canterbury welcome back hooker Corey Flynn and prop Peter Borlase for the national provincial championship rugby match and Ranfurly Shield challenge against Southland in Invercargill on Saturday night.
Southland have given the people of the embattled province some much-needed cheer with a rousing Ranfurly Shield defence against Auckland in Invercargill.
Rugby's prized Ranfurly Shield might be up for grabs but both holder Southland and challenger Auckland have avoided making it a major element of their build-up to their clash in Invercargill tomorrow night.
It may not reach the intensity of the Ranfurly Shield defence but there will be another epic provincial clash next Saturday when Otago Boys' meets Southland Boys' in the final of the Highlanders First XV competition.
Eben Joubert did not know what was worse - dislocating his shoulder or standing on the sideline watching the shield dream fade away.
Otago cannot afford to dwell too long on its unsuccessful Ranfurly Shield challenge, coach Phil Mooney says, although he concedes discipline must improve.
Otago captain Alando Soakai will bring up 50 games for his province this weekend in the most important of games but says he will not be stressing the importance of the Log o' Wood before kick-off.
Otago coach Phil Mooney has looked to inject some energy into his forward pack to play Southland in the Ranfurly Shield challenge in Invercargill tomorrow.
So this is it. The big one. The chance of all chances. The opportunity to get rid of 53 years of hurt.