Ranfurly Shield
Magpies confirm first Ranfurly Shield opponents
ESPN Staff
November 12, 2014
Hawke's Bay will not easily loosen their grip on the Ranfurly Shield © Getty Images
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Hawke's Bay will defend the Ranfurly Shield against Wairarapa Bush, Horowhenua Kapiti and back-to-back Meads Cup winners Mid Canterbury in July, having received six Heartland Championship challenges.

"We know that each of the Heartland opposition will be difficult opponents who will be highly motivated by the opportunity to play for the Log o' Wood," Hawke's Bay union chief executive Mike Bishop said. Mid Canterbury, as Heartland champions, were a compulsory challenge, and "we've been keen to give our near neighbours a crack so have accepted the Wairarapa Bush and Horowhenua Kapiti challenges."

Hawke's Bay won the Shield when they defeated Counties Manukau 27-21 in August, and they subsequently made four successful defences against ITM Cup opponents Otago, Bay of Plenty, Wellington and Southland. The Magpies had previously held the Log o' Wood for just five days in 2013, beating Otago to lift the shield before losing to Counties Manukau. The Steelers subsequently held the trophy for 12 months before they lost to the Magpies.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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