Canterbury Rugby has today announced two mandatory pre-season Ranfurly Shield challenges to be played in July 2020. Canterbury Rugby CEO Tony Smail confirmed the province had accepted challenges from Buller and North Otago.
The first challenge against Buller will be played in Westport on Saturday 11th July, and Mr Smail said: “It’s great to be taking the Ranfurly Shield on the road, and to be able to share the excitement of a Shield game with the people of Westport. We are sure they’ll put on a great event and will present a good challenge for us early in the campaign.”
Buller Rugby Union Manager Andrew Duncan added: “Buller Rugby Union is delighted to have had our challenge accepted. 2001 was our last challenge, so after 19 years we are excited about the opportunity to host Canterbury in Westport. This will be a great occasion for the entire community to get behind and celebrate.”
If Canterbury are successful in retaining the Shield, the second match will be played at Rugby Park in Christchurch against the Meads Cup Champions, North Otago, on Friday 17 July. Mr Smail said: “This will be the first time the Canterbury men’s team has played a first class fixture at Rugby Park since 2011, so this game provides a fantastic opportunity for us to welcome the local community to enjoy top level rugby right here at our Rugby Park headquarters.”
North Otago CEO Colin Jackson said: “North Otago Rugby is thrilled to be given the opportunity to challenge for the Ranfurly Shield in Christchurch. Having experienced the thrill of a challenge in 2019, we are sure the North Otago community will get behind us and make the trip to Christchurch for what promises to be a great occasion.”
Confirmed 2020 pre-season Ranfurly Shield match details:
Canterbury v Buller, Saturday 11th July 2020, Victoria Square – Westport, Kick off time 2:05pm
Canterbury v North Otago, Friday 17th July 2020, Rugby Park – Christchurch, Kick off time 2:05pm