Home' The Wellingtonian : October 11th 2012 Contents 23
THE WELLINGTONIAN, OCTOBER 11, 2012
On October 26th an amazing new home opens
in Wellington to help families of seriously ill
If you can find some time to join our dedicated
team of fun volunteers and help us to look after
our families we would love to talk to you about
being part of our team.
WE NEED PEOPLE TO
HOUSE A HOME
Please call, text or email Brent Taylor:
P: 04 389 5505
T: 027 586 5543
A unique volunteer opportunity in our new House
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Shield's glory days long gone
Great memories: From left, Stu Wilson, Allan Hewson, Murray Mexted, Jamie Salmon and Bernie Fraser return home
with the Ranfurly Shield after helping Wellington lift it off Waikato in 1981.
I ve been trying to work out
who actually cares about rug-
by s Ranfurly Shield these
Younger rugby followers, reared
in the professional rugby era,
seem generally to regard the
shield as a quaint extra, nothing
Their parents, who recall the
days when a big Ranfurly Shield
game stopped the country, view
with sadness what has happened
to the famous Log o Wood.
Taranaki held the shield for
most of this season, but lost it
recently to Waikato, after a 46-10
Waikato have one defence to
survive in 2012, against Hawke s
Bay. It s of interest to rugby stat-
isticians and train-spotters, but
otherwise the Ranfurly Shield
hardly excites any more.
I remember as a youngster
listening on my transistor radio to
Wellington trying to wrest the
shield off Hawke s Bay in 1967
and Canterbury in 1970.
Blair Furlong saved it for
Hawke s Bay the first time with a
last-minute drop goal, and Fergie
McCormick repeated the feat for
Canterbury three years later.
Both games were drawn, so the
shield stayed put.
They were crushing results for
Wellington rugby followers, at
least as hard to stomach as an All
The Ranfurly Shield means
comparatively little now, though a
few dyed-in-the-wool rugby types
will tell you differently.
I was in Christchurch when
Canterbury challenged Taranaki
for the shield last month. In the
group of a dozen men I was with
were some loyal Cantabrians who
Yet they had only a passing
interest in the shield game.
Whereas 30 years ago they d
have been huddled around a tele-
vision desperately urging on their
team, now they carried on chat-
ting and every 25 minutes or so
did a quick check on the score
from New Plymouth.
When Taranaki won, there was
no particular sadness, only a
shrug of the shoulders.
Two things killed the shield.
First was the supremacy of Can-
terbury, and more especially
Auckland, in the 1980s and early
Auckland s reign lasted 61
The charm of the shield was
that it went around the country --
Northland, Hawke s Bay, South
Canterbury, Marlborough . . .
Once it became the domain of
one or two provinces, interest
waned. That process sped up
when rugby went professional, the
Super franchises dominant.
It became virtually impossible
for smaller provincial sides to beat
full-strength teams from the
Super franchise bases.
New Zealand rugby has evolved
further. Now leading players
almost never appear in the
That means teams such as
Southland and Taranaki have
every chance of beating "Canter-
bury" or "Auckland", except
they re really beating Canterbury
B or Auckland B.
Similarly, the Ranfurly Shield
is being contested by the country s
second-tier players. Games might
be close, but the quality has been
removed from the competition.
To anyone who treasures rugby
history, that s sad.
Nostalgic rugby fans may hope
Hawke s Bay beat Waikato next
Saturday. They ll recall the Bay s
two record shield reigns -- in the
1920s with the Brownlie brothers,
George Nepia and company, and
in the 1960s with Kel Tremain,
Ian MacRae, Bill Davis and the
They ll say it would be nice if
the shield went "home".
Except it s not really the shield.
Not like it used to be.
Croquet stars on show
New Zealand s leading women s
croquet players are using the
weekend s Magak tournament in
Wellington to build up to this
month s inaugural world women s
championships in Melbourne.
World No 1 Jenny Clarke of
Christchurch and a clutch of other
New Zealand stars will show their
skills at the Wellington club off
Alexandra Rd. The men s section
of the tournament will be played
at the Kelburn club.
The first prize is $1000 -- sub-
stantial for New Zealand croquet.
Play begins at 8.30am on Sat-
urday, October 13, and finishes on
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