Hoping for heroics
The Southland Stags will be hoping for a repeat of their 2011 heroics when they tackle Canterbury in a David and Goliath battle for rugby’s Ranfurly Shield in Christchurch tomorrow evening.
After three rounds of the national provincial championship, the Stags have lost all three games and sit at the bottom of the second-tier championship table. Canterbury have won all three of their games, each with bonus points, and lead the toptier premiership.
The last time Southland won the Ranfurly Shield was in July 2011, when they defeated the red and blacks 22-19 in Christchurch.
Southland Stags captain Brayden Mitchell has no illusions about the challenge facing his team tomorrow.
‘‘I guess we go up there with nothing to lose and hopefully win and get our season back on track,’’ he said after last week’s loss to Northland. ‘‘It (the Ranfurly Shield challenge) is going to be a tough ask.’’
Canterbury, which has scored 122 points and conceded just 34 in its three games this season, warmed up for tomorrow’s shield challenge with a 53-10 romp over Hawke’s Bay.
Southland, which has scored just 49 points and conceded 113, suffered a humiliating 13-44 defeat to Northland at home in Invercargill.
Kick-off in tomorrow’s Ranfurly Shield challenge at AMI Stadium in Christchurch is 5.45pm.
Southland players celebrate after beating Canterbury 22-19 in 2011 to lift the Ranfurly Shield.