September 24, 1966 ... one of the most significant dates in Hawke's Bay rugby history.

That was the day the Hawke's Bay Magpies beat Waikato 6-0 in Hamilton to win the Ranfurly Shield. The Magpies were captained by All Blacks and Magpies legend Kel Tremain who didn't have to make a losing Ranfurly Shield speech until three years after that game.

Tonight a grandson of the late Kel, Will Tremain, will start on the opposite side of the scrum to where his grandfather played in that encounter, at openside flanker for the Magpies who will attempt to capture the shield in their fifth round Mitre 10 Cup Championship clash against Waikato in Hamilton.

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After a polished display off the subs bench in the win against Bay of Plenty last weekend Tremain, 20, replaces Josh Kaifa in the No 7 jersey.

"It's a massive opportunity and I'm pretty excited about it. Everyone in the family is," third generation Magpie and shield challenger Tremain said as he reflected on the family's connection with the famous log o' wood.

All of his family as well as the family of his uncle, former Magpie Simon Tremain, and grandmother, Kel's widow Pam Tremain, will be at FMG Stadium for the match.

"I might have to grab some of the other players' free tickets to accommodate everyone," Tremain quipped.

"It's awesome to be in the mix. I've had a bit of experience in the earlier games off the bench. I'm happy with what I have done and now I need to make the most of the opportunity I've been given this week ... I need to keep improving," Tremain said.

Astute followers of the Magpies will have noticed Tremain has bulked up since returning from Baby Blacks duty at the Under-20 World Cup in France in June.

"I was 96kg when I got back and through some pretty challenging work with Luke [Magpies fitness trainer Stephenson] I've reached 100kg. I don't want to be much more as I lose my other assets but at this level everyone is that much heavier and that much stronger. I needed to be heavier to compete, to hold my feet at the breakdown."

Tremain pointed out Waikato will be a tough challenge.

"They are a pretty physical side which runs the ball well with talented wingers."


He agreed it was crucial the Magpies make their tackles. A repeat of the 24 missed tackles against Bay of Plenty would prove costly.

Before making the Baby Blacks Tremain was studying commerce at Victoria University and majoring in commercial law and economics. He has put those studies on hold so he can give his professional rugby career total commitment.

That's a wise move which is already paying off and one which may have to be extended if Tremain matches his late grandfather's feat and returns home a shield winner tomorrow.

Former Napier Boys' High School First XV captain Tremain will be one up on his uncle if the Magpies bring back the shield. Simon had three unsuccessful challenges with three different unions.

He was a non-playing member of the 1988 Otago side which lost 27-17 to Auckland in Auckland, a flanker for the 1991 Wellington side which lost 31-21 to Auckland in Auckland and a No 8 for the 1993 Magpies who lost 69-31 to Auckland in Auckland.

Magpies head coach Mark Ozich said Kaifa has had a huge workload in recent weeks and needs a break from the starting role.

"It's a long campaign and we need to rotate. Will performed well off the bench last week and deserves this opportunity."

Ozich was happy to report co-captain and No 8 Gareth Evans shook off his eye injury and lock Michael Allardice has recovered from his virus. However last week's starting hooker Ben Power has yet to recover from his hand injury and 19-year-old Kianu Kereru-Symes will start in the wake of his admirable contribution off the pine against the Steamers. Jason Long will provide hooking cover on the subs bench.

Other changes to the Magpies starting XV see Ben May switch from tighthead prop to loosehead to allow last week's matchwinning tryscorer Joe Apikotoa his first start at tighthead prop and Pasqualle Dunn replaces Sasa Tofilau at second five-eighth.

Changes to the bench see Long replace Kereru-Symes, last week's loosehead Mark Braidwood replace Apikotoa, Kaifa replace Tremain and Tofilau replace Dunn.

The Waikato side includes three Baby Blacks teammates of Tremain in Hawke's Bay age group product Bailyn Sullivan on the wing, centre Quinn Tupaea and lock Laghlan McWhannell.

Teams for the 7.35pm clash:
Hawke's Bay Magpies: JJ Taulagi, Jonah Lowe, Stacey Ili, Pasqualle Dunn, Mason Emerson, Tiaan Falcon, Brad Weber (co-captain), Gareth Evans (co-captain), Will Tremain, Marino Mikaele-Tu'u, Tom Parsons, Michael Allardice, Joe Apikotoa, Kianu Kereru-Symes, Ben May. Substitutes: Forwards, Jason Long, Mark Braidwood, Pouri Rakete-Stones, Geoff Cridge, Josh Kaifa. Backs, Folau Fakatava, Sasa Tofilau, Michael Buckley.
Waikato: Matty Lansdown, Bailyn Sullivan, Quinn Tupaea, Dwayne Sweeney (captain), Sevu Reece, Fletcher Smith, Jack Stratton, Jordan Manihera, Mitch Jacobson, Adam Burn, Laghlan McWhannell, Tim Bond, Joshua Iosefa-Scott, Samisoni Taukei'aho, Ayden Johnstone. Substitutes: Forwards, Sekope Lopeti-Moli, Haereiti Hetet, Sosaia Fale, James Tucker, Murray Iti. Backs, Raniera Takarangi, Mosese Dawai, Tyler Campbell.