There has always been strong, for want of a better word, competition between North Otago and South Canterbury rugby sides. The first match between the two was in 1927 and since then the two unions have met on 132 occasions. Results favour South Canterbury which has won eighty five of the games to North Otago’s, forty two with five games drawn.
The first game between the two was in 1927 and played at Waimate and resulted in a six all draw. South Canterbury went on to win five of the next six matches with North Otago’s first win coming in the third game. The years leading up to World War two were lean ones for North Otago with South Canterbury winning nineteen of the twenty four games played with one game drawn.
South Canterbury won the first game after the war, 21-0 and in 1947 the Mayor of Timaru, Mr Hanan, presented a shield to be played for between South Canterbury, North Otago and Mid Canterbury, and then known as Ashburton County. South Canterbury defeated North Otago in that first game, 9-6.
North Otago finally got its hands on the Shield when in 1948 it beat South Canterbury, 3-0, a penalty goal from Jack Halvorsen. The fifties saw North otago win only five of the seventeen games played between the two unions with one drawn.
The sixties saw South Canterbury win thirteen of the twenty games played although The Hanan Shield came back to North Otago in 1963 and 1966. But the next two and a half decades were tough ones for North Otago. It lost both games to South Canterbury in 1970 and had a win and a draw in 1971 before South Canterbury won the next twenty nine games played on the trot, before in 1997 under Greg Shipton and Peter Cook the Shield returned to North Otago.
North Otago has had the better of the last nineteen years having won fourteen of the seventeen games played between the two sides. Overall the two unions have met on 132 times with South Canterbury winning eighty five, north Otago, forty two, with five matches drawn.
The 2016 season has seen South Canterbury currently lying in second place behind unbeaten Wanganui, win five of its six games played to date, losing to Wanganui by a mere two points.
North Otago, after last weekend’s round of Heartland rugby, lies in seventh place, a point behind King Country and three points behind Wairarapa-Bush which lies at the top of the Lochore Cup four. North Otago is yet to play South Canterbury and West Coast before the semi-finals. Its aim at this stage should be to earn a Lochore Cup semi-final at home.