RANFURLY SHIELD HISTORY AND STATS
In 1902 Auckland became the first holders of the Shield because in that year it had the best record of any Provincial Union (the blue and whites were unbeaten that year). In 1904 the first challenge was held and Wellington became the first side to win a Shield challenge.
Since that first match, there have been more than 600 contests at grounds all around the country, every Provincial Union has challenged for the Shield but only 17 have held it and Shield Fever continues unchecked as the Shield inspires and unifies communities like no other trophy in New Zealand sport.
The Earl of Ranfurly, who donated the Shield, was the Patron of the then-New Zealand Rugby Football Union and Governor of New Zealand. The original prize was to be a cup but on its unveiling was discovered to be a shield, with a centerpiece showing an association football match. The Shield then underwent the first of a series of upgrades throughout its history, before being presented to Auckland.
Winners’ names are traditionally engraved on small shields, along with the years in which they held the Shield. In 2012 the last of these shields was filled in when Waikato lifted the Shield, so the whole set was replaced to allow room for more winners in the future as well as recognizing those teams who have held it.
Shield Fever run rampant in 2013 as Otago lifted the coveted ‘log ‘o wood’ for the first time since 1957. Hawke’s Bay also tasted success with their first Shield success since 1969. But the holders of the Shield at the end of the year were first time holders Counties-Manakau. In 2014, Hawke’s Bay wrested the Shield back from Counties-Manukau and went on to face 11 challengers before losing the prize to Waikato in the final challenge of 2015.
Waikato saw off six tough defences, including a draw with Taranaki before losing the Shield to Canterbury in late 2016. Canterbury’s reign also lasted six defences before being stunned by Taranaki in one of the all-time great Ranfurly Shield clashes. After trailing 31-7, Taranaki stormed back to win 55-43 and lift the Shield for the first time since 2012.
There was more movement in 2018 with Taranaki and Waikato enjoying stints throughout the season before Otago finished as eventual holders.
In 2019, Otago held it for the majority of the season. Holding off challenges from Thames Valley, North Otago, Southland, Manawatu, Taranaki and Waikato, before losing it to Canterbury 35-25. Canterbury defended the Shield against North Harbour 31-25 and locked it up for the summer.
In 2020 Canterbury were defeated in their first challenge of the NPC by Taranaki losing by 23-22, then 8 Days later Otago travelled to Inglewood for Taranaki’s first defence and took the opportunity winning 30-19 to take the Shield on a quick return trip to the South Island albeit this time a bit further South to Dunedin. The Hawkes Bay came to town seven Days later to face Otago’s first defence and smash and grab it was with Hawkes Bay winning by 28-09 ; Hawkes Bay then had 3 Defenses against Northland (Won 33-17), Manawatu (Won 47-12) and Wellington (Won 34-18).
In 2021 Hawkes Bay begin their defence against Heartland Champions from 2019 North Otago at McLean Park , and if they get past this Hurdle they then play Ngati Porou East Coast who are celebrating their Centenary in 2021 in what will be their first challenge since 2013 and their first against Hawkes Bay since 1968.
Ranfurly Shield Records
- Most consecutive matches
61, Auckland 1985–1993
- Fewest consecutive matches
1 match, 9 times
- Shortest tenure
6 days, Hawke’s Bay 2013
- Longest tenure
8 years, 10 months, 23 days, Southland 1938-47
Team match records
- Highest score
139–5, Auckland v North Otago, 1993
- Biggest winning margin
134, Auckland v North Otago, 1993
- Most tries
23, Auckland v North Otago, 1993
Player match records
- Most points
40 John Kirwan, Auckland v North Otago, 1993
- Most tries
8, John Kirwan, Auckland v North Otago, 1993
- Most conversions
12, Brett Craies, Auckland v Horowhenua, 1986, Grant Fox, Auckland v Nelson Bays, 1991
Glen Jackson, Waikato v West Coast, 2000 and Lachie Munro, Auckland v North Otago, 2008
- Most penalties
7, Robbie Deans, Canterbury v Counties, 1984 and Cam McIntyre, Canterbury v Wellington, 2003
- Most dropped goals
3, Ross Brown, Taranaki v Wanganui, 1964 and v North Auckland, 1964, Greg Coffey, Canterbury v Auckland, 1990, Andrew Mehrtens, Canterbury v Southland, 1995
Player Career Records
- Most matches
57, Grant Fox, Auckland
- Most points
932, Grant Fox, Auckland
- Most tries
53, Terry Wright, Auckland
Shield History as at 20 September 2021