North Otago’s experience with Ranfurly Shield challenges is not a happy one.
The Oamaru Mail records:
1938 lost to Otago 12-0; 1946 lost to Southland `5-3; 1947 lost to Otago 42 -3; 1971 lost to Canterbury 14-0; 1973 lost to Malborough 26 -9; 1974 lost to South Canterbury 9-3; 1983 lost to Canterbury 88-0; 1993 lost to Auckland 139 -5; 2000 lost to Waikato 95-17; 2003 lost to Canterbury 85-24; 2008 lost to Auckland 113 -3.
Even the most ardent North Otago fans aren’t expecting miracles when the team meets Southland at Rugby Park tonight but they are expecting fun.
One of our staff manages the North Otago team and presented one of our Southland staff with a North Otago jacket when he was up here on Wednesday. The Southlander has promised to wear it, though he’ll also be wearing his Stags’ hat and scarf.
The whole Southland province has embraced its shield win with enthusiasm and there’s a sell-out crowd for tonight’s game. Regardless of the result, rugby may really be the winner.
UPDATE: The ODt interviews Doug Grant who played for North Otago in the 1971 shield challenge against a Canterbury team fielding 11 All Blacks with another in the reserves.