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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Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Friday , September 19
Counties Manukau vs CanterburyCounties Manukau vs Canterbury Preview
Saturday , September 20
Hawkes Bay vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Preview
Manawatu vs Southland19:35
Sunday , September 21
Otago vs Waikato14:35
Wellington vs Tasman16:35
Wednesday, September 24
North Harbour vs Canterbury19:35
Thursday , September 25
Bay Of Plenty vs Northland19:35
Friday , September 26
Taranaki vs Auckland19:35
Saturday , September 27
Waikato vs Manawatu14:35
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Recent Results
All times are local
Thursday , September 18
Northland 20 - 31 TaranakiNorthland vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 17
Southland 14 - 38 TasmanSouthland vs Tasman Report
Sunday , September 14
Waikato 26 - 21 Counties ManukauWaikato vs Counties Manukau Report
Hawkes Bay 41 - 0 Otago
Saturday , September 13
Bay Of Plenty 12 - 27 AucklandBay Of Plenty vs Auckland Report
Southland 36 - 34 Northland
Friday , September 12
North Harbour 24 - 13 Manawatu
Canterbury 46 - 12 WellingtonCanterbury vs Wellington Report
Thursday , September 11
Tasman 30 - 31 TaranakiTasman vs Taranaki Report
Wednesday, September 10
Otago 23 - 40 Northland
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