Ranfurly Shield - Challenges


The Shield holder at the end of each season is required to accept at least seven challenges for the following year. All home games during league play, but not during knockout playoffs, in the ITM Cup or Heartland Championship are automatic challenges. The remaining shield defences must be made up of challenges from unions in the other domestic competition. For example, since North Harbour, an Air New Zealand Cup (now ITM Cup) team, held the Shield at the end of the 2006 Cup season despite losing their home quarter-final to Otago, they were forced to defend the Shield against Heartland Championship teams during the 2007 pre-season. Having successfully done so, all their home fixtures in the round-robin phase were Shield defences until they lost the shield to Waikato.

The Shield-holder is never forced to defend the Shield in an away match, although they may choose to, as Auckland, for example, did on a number of occasions during their record tenure as Shield-holder between 1985 and 1993. More recently, Auckland played both their mandatory defences against Heartland teams in 2008 on the road.

If a challenger successfully takes the Shield, all of their home matches for the rest of the season are defences of it.

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Famous quotes containing the word challenges:

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