Canterbury 29
Waikato 23

The Ranfurly Shield is on the move south.

Canterbury won a classic, free-wheeling challenge in Hamilton in which they had to call on all their class and experience to overcome a fired-up Waikato, whose 355-day tenure ends on six successful defences.

This was Canterbury's first Shield victory since 2010, and they looked to have benefitted from a pep-talk during the week from Don Hayes, the skipper of the team during the great 1982-85 Shield era.


Working off a classy, and multi-skilled 10-12-13 combination of Richie Mo'unga, Jordie Barrett and Jack Goodhue, Canterbury took a 20-12 lead to the sheds. Captain Luke Whitelock led from the front at No 8 and Mo'unga kicked the goals before Barrett relieved him, to good effect, in the second spell. Goodhue set up fullback Johnny McNicholl early with a searing break and well-timed pass.

Waikato had plenty of prominent performers, wing Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara to the fore with a try in the corner to tie it all up at 23-23. The home side's defence was rather stiffer than it was in the flat defeat to Counties Manukau last Friday.

That meant Canterbury was not always able to click straight into gear with its offence. But they still had their moments of typical clinical efficiency, such as when Ben Funnell scored from a lineout drive. The hooker could have had two but he was in front of the ball carrier from whom he ripped the ball.

Waikato's try to No 8 and skipper Whetu Douglas was a beauty, with Jordan Trainor, who was strong all night, latching onto a Sam Christie chip before finding Douglas with a sweet offload.

Canterbury, who will have one defence - on October 7 against North Harbour - stay atop the Premiership standings, while Waikato remain in fifth position.

Waikato are back in action on Sunday in Whangarei for a crossover clash with the Taniwha, while Canterbury travel to Taranaki on the same day.

Canterbury 29 (Ben Funnell, Johnny McNicholl tries; Richie Mo'unga 2 con, 2 pen, Jordie Barrett 3 pen) Waikato 23 (Jordan Manihera, Whetu Douglas, Iliesa Ratuva Tavuyara tries; Jordan Trainor con, 2 pen) HT: 20-12