Rugby's big rivals go head-to-head
Fri, 26 Oct 2012 6:47p.m.
By Jim Kayes
By David Di Somma and Jim Kayes
After Counties Manukau hosted Otago last night in the Championship ITM Cup final, tonight Auckland and Canterbury will square off for the first time in a final.
There may not be the intensity that there was decades ago, but it’s still New Zealand provincial rugby's biggest rivalry.
One game has gone down in history as a classic, which remains a Ranfurly Shield record to this day.
It was 1985 and there were 52,000 fans crammed into Lancaster Park. Many may remember watching it on a television a million light years away from today's flatscreen plasmas.
There'll be no shield at stake tonight, but the ITM Cup final is north versus south - it's also big brother versus little brother.
“It's a love-to-hate relationship - for them and for us,” Auckland first-five Gareth Anscombe says.
Canterbury coach Tabai Matson agrees.
“There's no hate, just mutual respect and two teams locking horns real hard.”
Both sides will field a smattering of current and former All Blacks, a host of Super Rugby players, and the new breed of emerging talent - club players essentially getting their crack at the big time.
In contrast, the match of the century featured the best All Blacks of a generation.
The line up included:
Warwick Taylor's son Tom will play at second-five , and for him it's a second-generation provincial rivalry and will also be his second final.
“Last year I was coming off the bench,” Taylor says. “It would be great to start this year, especially against this team - and go out in style.”
Twenty-seven years ago Canterbury was gunning for 26 wins in a row. It would have beaten the record held by the Aucklanders, no less.
But after a week of massive hype, the northerners blew the holders out of the water.
“We came out of the blocks and dominated - nailed some points and got a healthy lead,” Grant Fox says.
It was 24-0 at halftime and the crowd was in disbelief. Legend has it at half-time Canterbury coach Alex Wyllie - a man called 'Grizz' for good reason - was succinct to say the least.
Whether Auckland was just sitting on its commanding lead or if Wyllie's words had worked the oracle, Canterbury was transformed.
Try after try, the home side got it back to 28-23 and could have won it in the last minute.
But they didn’t. Canterbury had lost the Ranfurly Shield and Auckland would go on to win a record 61 matches on the trot.
Rugby has changed drastically since then - but it's always fun to reminisce. Who knows what tonight will bring?
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
The Chiefs have beaten the Crusaders 28-19 in a tight affair...
Video highlights, live stream commentary, live updates as th...
While sports like rugby often struggle to keep their best pl...
While the Otago Highlanders are bottom of the Super Rugby ta...
An emotional Ali Williams has called full time on his All Bl...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.