Shield match just like any other

Southland Stags coach Dave Hewett is treating this weekend’s Ranfurly Shield match against Otago like any other game.

The Stags head up the road to Dunedin on Saturday for a chance to win the prestigious shield for the first time since 2011.

But Hewett said winning their first game since 2016 was more important.

He said he understood the importance behind the game but was treating it just like any other regular season game.

“It’s important from the rugby point of view, don’t get me wrong. But the big picture is it’s a competition as well. It’s a Ranfurly Shield game, but it’s also a competition game. So we’ll put as much focus into it as we do every other game. We want the competition points. That’s first and foremost.

I guess if we get the competition points we get the win, we get the shield. So there is a bit of a knock on effect.”

He said it was important for the players to perform at their best, no matter what game of the season.

The Stags head into the game off the back of a brave loss in their opening match against Northland in Invercargill last week.

The Stags led at halftime 10-6 and piled on late pressure against their northern rivals but were unable to convert that pressure into a proper scoring opportunity, losing the match 27-17.

This article was originally written for The Advocate. You can read the published version here

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