allblacks.com and James Mortimer 03.Oct.2012
The Ranfurly Shield will remain in Taranaki over the Summer if they defeat the challenge of Waikato.
Taranaki's 59-18 win over Manawatu ensured that the Log o'Wood is but one game from being locked up, while all seven home teams won over Round 11, while a full round of cross-over clashes saw the likes of Counties, Tasman, North Harbour and Otago give good accounts of themselves against their Premiership rivals.
Waikato have not beaten Taranaki since 2009 so will be up against it, but winning the Shield would be a good finish to what has been a less than spectacular season for the Mooloo men so far.
Tasman will want to keep the pressure on the top of the Championship table when they host Bay of Plenty, in a thirteenth round thats sees all of the Premiership teams travel away.
Northland play Canterbury on Thursday night, with the hosts looking for their first victory over a red and black team since 1999.
A big Saturday kicks off with Manawatu, Counties-Manukau and Otago hosting Hawke's Bay, Waikato and Wellington respectively.
Sunday and the round wraps up with Southland hosting Taranaki, while Auckland will travel to the North Shore to take on Harbour.
When any two teams are tied:
The winner of any Round Robin match played between the two Provincial Unions in that year will have the higher position.
The Provincial Union which has the higher points difference in the Round Robin will have the higher position
Where three or more Provincial Union teams are tied:
The tied Provincial Union with the most competition points in that year against the other tied Provincial Unions shall have the higher position
if three or more Provincial Unions have an equal number of competition points against the other tied Provincial Unions, the tied Provincial Union which has the higher points difference in the Round Robin will have the higher position.
If a tie cannot be broken by the criteria set out above:
The Provincial Union that scored the most tries in the Round Robin will have the higher position, The Provincial Union that scored the most points in the Round Robin shall have the higher position, and if all else fails, the toss of a coin will determine a result.