The Ranfurly Shield is returning to the North Island. Photo credit: Sky Sport.
Taranaki added spice to this year’s Men’s NPC competition by taking the Ranfurly Shield off Canterbury in their eighth round fixture in Christchurch on Friday night.
The amber and blacks have won the Ranfurly Shield five times before and most recently in 2012, but this was the first time they had won it off Canterbury, a perennial holder.
They did it in style too.
In a whirlwind game, Taranaki came back from 0-24 down after 20 minutes, then 7-31 down later in the first half, then 21-31 at halftime and 21-38 early in the second stanza to win 55-43.
Taranaki outscored Canterbury seven tries to six.
They took the lead in the contest with about 10 minutes to play, livewire openside flanker Lachlan Boshier crossing for his second try.
Wing Manasa Mataele sealed the win for the amber and black raiders when he charged down a kick and crossed.
Taranaki also won the Ranfurly Shield in honour of Taranaki stalwart Peter Burke, who passed away on Monday aged 90, and captained the province through their famous Shield era of 1957-59. The team wore black armbands in his honour.
The win for Taranaki puts both teams on 36 points in the NPC Premiership race but Taranaki has a game in hand, playing two matches in the final round, and can finish on top.
They will defend the shield against the Manawatu Turbos this coming Wednesday.
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