2024 Ranfurly Shield Heartland Fixtures Announcement

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2023 Meads Cup winners, South Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay neighbors King Country will both travel to Hawke’s Bay to challenge for the coveted Shield.

 

King Country will head across the Napier-Taupo Road on Wednesday 26th June to challenge at a yet undecided venue. If the Magpies are successful against the ‘Rams’ they then face Perineal Meads Cup champions South Canterbury for the 2nd time in 3 years at Napier’s McLean Park on Saturday 27th July with a family-friendly 3pm kick-off.

 

"Challenging for the shield is not something that every player in NZ has the opportunity to do throughout their career. Both King Country and South Canterbury performed well in their respective competitions last season and we expect very enthusiastic, tough games against both of these proud unions. The players who earn the right to represent the Magpies in these games will be aware we will need to be at our best to ensure we earn the right to defend the shield again." Said Magpies coach Brock James.

 

King Country Chief Executive Kurt McQuilkin was excited about the June 26th fixture stating “I would like to thank CEO Jay Campbell and the Hawkes Bay Rugby Union for this opportunity; Ranfurly Shield matches are few and far between, particularly for Heartland provinces. This will be a great occasion for our TLC King Country Rams players, families, and friends, as well as our wider King Country rugby community.”

 

The Magpies that defend the Shield for these two games will be a mixture of local club players and players who have returned from MLR (United States) and Super Rugby commitments and James confirmed there will be real competition for spots as club-based players show form over the club season as James and his selectors watch with interest during the early rounds of club footy.

 

South Canterbury CEO Tim Hyde-Smith stated ‘South Canterbury are excited once again to be in the position to challenge for one of New Zealand’s most historical and prestige sporting memorabilia, the Ranfurly Shield. South Canterbury is in the unique position of being able to challenge for the Shield 3-years in a row.

 

Hyde-Smith continued ‘’The team are looking forward to once again playing Hawkes Bay, like we did in 2022 where the game was very competitive. We are fully aware that the “Hawkes Bay Maggie Pies” will be waiting for us in full force’’.

 

Should the Magpies be successful in defending the shield against these heartland opponents the Magpies next defence will be against NPC opposition to be confirmed when the Bunnings NPC draw is released later next week. James added ‘Being shield holders and competing for the NPC title is a real balancing act, but the coaches and leaders are excited about the challenges this brings but need to lay the platform and it all starts with King Country on June 26th and we can’t wait to rip into it’’

Credit: Hawkes Bay Magpies

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