Hawke's Bay's Ranfurly Shield celebrations have officially ended after they were upset 23-21 by Northland.

After beating Counties Manukau to claim the Ranfurly Shield last Saturday, a super sideline conversion from Dan Hawkins gave Northland the win.

Down 21-16 in the dying stages, Northland's reserve lock Michael Stolberg managed to smuggle the ball across the line for a game-tying try and Hawkins' heroics after the hooter sealed the win.

Wet conditions didn't allow for much free-flowing rugby between the Championship sides but Northland never gave in, despite trailing on the scoreboard for most of the game.


Tries to Brendon O'Connor and Ryan Tongia gave Hawke's Bay a handy lead, which they should have been able to close out.

After suffering two losses from their first three contests, this victory would have been a good confidence boost for a Northland side who like to throw the ball around and play with ambition, even if the conditions don't warrant it.

The Taniwha will look to build on this result when they meet Otago in Dunedin next Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Hawke's Bay will need to lift their performance when they defend the Ranfurly Shield against Otago on Sunday, September 14.

Nerves of steel: Northland first-five Dan Hawkins had it all on his shoulders but came up big when his team needed him most. Cracking kick to win it.

The big wet: The heavens opened in Whangarei and they didn't let up. The ball resembled a piece of soap throughout the contest, which made life tough for both teams.

Northland 23 (Dan Pryor, Michael Stolberg tries; Dan Hawkins 3 pen, 2 con) Hawke's Bay 21 (Brendon O'Connor, Ryan Tongia tries; Ihaia West 2 pen, con, Matt Berquist pen) halftime: 11-6