Planet Rugby

Preview: Southland v Taranaki

23rd August 2011 20:48


Jamie Mackintosh holding Ranfurly Shield aloft

Up for grabs: The Ranfurly Shield

The Ranfurly Shield will be up for grabs once again when Southland play host to Taranaki in Wednesday's ITM Cup clash at Rugby Park .

The Amber and Blacks' challenge for the famous Log o'Wood in Invercargill shapes as a must win - if not only to bring some guaranteed glory to the season, but to avoid relegation and, remarkably, stay in contention for a top-two finish.

Taranaki are in a fight with six other sides for automatic relegation from the Premiership to the Championship.

But thanks to Waikato's loss to Manawatu on Saturday and Canterbury's defeat to Bay of Plenty today (Tuesday), they could still be in with a chance of a shot at the title.

One thing is for sure, Taranaki will have to play much better than they did against Canterbury if they have any hope of lifting the Shield for the first time since 1996.

Saturday's 27-0 thrashing by three-time defending champions Canterbury has undone a lot of the good work early in the season, and highlights just how much the 15-10 loss to Manawatu a fortnight ago could hurt - not only Taranaki's title aspirations, but their survival chances.

Southland: Robbie Robinson, Kade Poki, Kendrick Lynn, Matt Saunders, Glen Horton, James Wilson, Scott Cowan, Elliot Dixon, Tim Boys, John Hardie, Ben Nally, Josh Bekhuis, Chris King, David Hall, Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: Jason Rutledge, Nic Barrett, Michael Fatialofa, Tom Chamberlain, Sonny Rangitoheriri, Scott Eade, Tony Koonwaiyou, Michael Peterson.

Taranaki: Andre Taylor, Jackson Ormond, Willie Rickards, Jayden Hayward, Frazier Climo, Beauden Barrett, Tyson Keats, Ben Souness, Scott Waldrom, Chris Walker, Craig Clarke (c), Jason Eaton, Shane Cleaver, Laurence Corlett, Michael Bent.
Replacements: Timo Tutavaha, Carl Carmichael, James Broadhurst, Samuela Vunisa, Brett Goodin, Jack Cameron, Kurt Baker, Willie Ioane.

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Wednesday, October 1
Hawkes Bay vs WellingtonHawkes Bay vs Wellington Preview
Thursday , October 2
Auckland vs Waikato19:35
Friday , October 3
Northland vs North Harbour19:35
Saturday , October 4
Southland vs Counties Manukau14:35
Bay Of Plenty vs Otago17:35
Canterbury vs Tasman19:35
Sunday , October 5
Manawatu vs Hawkes Bay14:35
Wednesday, October 8
Counties Manukau vs Auckland19:35
Thursday , October 9
Waikato vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Friday , October 10
Otago vs Manawatu19:35
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Sunday , September 28
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
Saturday , September 27
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Friday , September 26
Taranaki 35 - 22 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 30 Northland
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour 29 - 24 CanterburyNorth Harbour vs Canterbury Report
Sunday , September 21
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
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