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N. Mitchell was outstanding for Southland rugby against Otago in 1936...... Ranfurly Shield Challenge.
A large contingent of Southlanders made their way to game in various ways, a total of 5,000 would make up the 30,000 expected at the game.
New caps in the Southland team were; A. Sutherland, C. Soper, W. Sherriff, J. Dunstan and W. Parker.
T. Metcalf was appointed pack leader, and was leader for the South Island forwards in 1931 and 1932. Metcalf and L. V. George are the only members of the Southland team that won the Ranfurly Shield off Wairarapa Bush in 1929.
Mr J. R. Bell coach of this 1936 team was the captain of the victorious 1929 shield team.
It was a bright and interesting game between the two teams and the 26,000 crowd saw an even contest.
Otago won the game 16-3 with ten of their points coming from the boot of D. Trevathan at first five eight.
Otago were more accurate in their ball skills and this coupled with the faster pace of the backs was the reason they were able to win the game.
The Southland forwards were equal to Otago's which made for some hard exchanges. No-one could have asked for a sterner struggle. Although Southland had the better of Otago in the first 20 minutes, it was all Otago when they settled to their tasks.
Parkhill, Green and Hore played exceptionally well for Otago.
Otago's confidence grew as the game progressed and the backs threw the ball about with abandon.
Their pace, cleverness and skills were just too much for Southland, however they did not disgrace themselves in any way.
N. Mitchell, captain, led by example and his play at centre and on the wing saw him have some cutting runs and was unlucky on a couple of occasions not to score.
On defence, Mitchell was at his best and one run he ran across field, to save a certain try, it was thrilling to watch. Mitchell was a very talented rugby player and it was not difficult to see the reason for his preference in the 1935 All Blacks.
Next to Mitchell, J. Purdue was the best back, he rose to the occasion and was a splendid link between the forwards and the backs.
The teams were:
Southland - A. Sutherland, N. Mitchell, R. Sharp, R. Thornbury, A. Wesney, M. Hamilton, J. Purdue, L. George, W. Sherriff, C. Soper, N. Irwin, R. Ward, T. Metcalf, J. Dunstan, W. Parker, G. Thomas, C. Calder, L. Uttley, J. Mattingly, J. Hamilton.
Otago - J. M. Taylor, W. A. Black, H. Smith, J. M. Watt, C. C. Gillies, D. Trevathan, H. Simon, G. McDonald, W. Laney, C. Quaid, W. Parkhill, F. Vorrath, F. J. Green, L. Niven, J. Hore, C. Saxton, R. G. Mahony, T. Gold, J. Campbell, A. G. Valentine, E. Murphy.
Fans leaving the train station in Invercargill and arriving in Dunedin for a march.
The pipers from Invercargill were a prominent sight.
Some of the transcript of the game was:
Southland Juniors: G. Anderson, J. Miller, J. Ballantyne, L. Wilson, E. Calvert, G. Silvester, H. Fraser, A. McEwan, R. Tinnock, G. Dale, A. Roberts, B. McKenzie, R. Urwin, E. Calder, J. Calvert, J. McBride, J. Burke.
Otago Juniors: G. I. Sim, J. H. Opie, C. Inglis, R. B. Andrew, G. M. Edwards, A. Stent, L. H. Simpson, R. McLay, J. Lawson, N. Rae, A. Lysaght, J. Tregea, T. Kennedy, T. Gray, J. Boreham, Adams, D.E. Georgeson, E. Ashfield, Baird.