Whakatāne's Trident High School First XV is gearing up for a tough season defending the Te Kani Shield.

Last year was the first time in the history Trident had won the shield and they are entering the season with a determination to not give it back.

The Te Kani Shield was gifted by Paora Te Kani's family after he died in battle in Tunisia in 1943 and has since been played for between Bay of Plenty secondary schools.

It was similar to the Ranfurly Shield although contested at home and away matches, and the challenger must win the match to win the shield.

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Trident's journey to the shield started on May 26 in 2018 when the school travelled to Rotorua to play Western Heights High School and won 10-7.

However, Trident failed to defend the shield in the next game against Te Puke High School who won the home game by 17-20.

The next time they saw the shield was a home game against John Paul College in July last year, winning 8-5.

The shield was successfully defended in the away game against Rotorua Boys' High School, 28-10 which meant the school name could finally be engraved on the plaque.

It was the first time in the history of the shield that Trident has had their name on it.

This year's journey to defend the shield started on May 11 with Trident's first home game against Aquinas College which they won 51-0.

The team and the shield will travel to Rotorua this week to take on John Paul College.

They anticipate a tough game against John Paul College as they are sure they would be determined to take back control of the shield they lost in July 2018.

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