We’ve seen the Southland Sharks and the Southern Steel perform extremely well over the last few months, but now the main event arrives at Rugby Park tomorrow when Southland defends the Ranfurly Shield for the first time since 1959.

Seeing the temporary seating going up at the SGHS end of the ground shows how much interest there is in the Log O’ Wood, and while the early defences against North Otago and Wanganui may just be dress rehearsals, the match against Otago on August 7 will be a cracker.

The Stadium was sold out for much of the basketball and netball season, and now it’s all going to be topped with a 20,000-strong crowd at the home of the Shield.

Southland really is fortunate to have such a rich sporting culture.  The pride and passion of locals in maroon in every sport we play is a credit to us all.  Go the Stags!

UPDATE: A hard-fought first half leads to a 48-3 win…bring on Wanganui on July 23…