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It is 1946 and Southland played Canterbury on Saturday 24 August 1946. The curtain raisers were Balfour v Mossburn and Collegiate v Old Boys (2nd Grade).
Mick Pittaway (21 games) and G. Cameron (19 games) for Southland.
The teams were:
Southland: T.R. Webster, R. Grenfell, A. Chandler, A. G. Sutherland, N.J. Bennett, R. F. Waldron, E.D. Calder, G. Spittle, G. Cameron, J. A. McRae, A. Budd, D. Brown, S. R. Pittaway, R. Hazlett, J. Stuck, H. Sandri, H. Hammond, R. Campbell, W. Stewart, R. Cody, J. Cameron, E. G. Walker.
P. Callanan, W. Argus, W. McHugh, R.Thomson, P. Kearney, J. Roach, R. Monigatti, G. Bond, P.K. Rhind, A. Lee, R. Duff, K. Bain, D. Herman, F. Hobbs, M. Henderson, E. Lucre, P. Vincent, P. Gilmour, J. Carroll.
It was reported:
In the second challenge match of the season between Canterbury and Southland, Canterbury will be having their first tilt at the Shield since they were defeated by Otago in 1938.
Canterbury's record in Ranfurly Shield games was good in having won the shield three times from defenders, Manawhenua in 1927, Wellington in 1931 and Auckland in 1935. In all they had won 23 games.
Southland and Canterbury had last met in Christchurch in 1939, just on the eve of the outbreak of the war. Unbeaten at the time, Southland had a hard job to beat the Red and Blacks who just went under by 10 points to 8.
R. L. Roberts and J.J. McAuliffe scored tried for Canterbury and Jim Ballantyne (former Southland full back) converted one. Southland's points came from a try by R. G. Mahony, a dropped goal by M. P. Grace and a penalty goal by A. W. Wesney.
Invercargill last had a visit from Canterbury in 1938. That match was to have been a Shield game, but Otago got in first and took the trophy away to Dunedin. Southland defeated Canterbury that season by 9 points to nil - three goals kicked by Jim Ballantyne.
Southland and Canterbury had taken part as opponents in only two Ranfurly Shield games, both at Christchurch. In 1933, when 1000 or more enthusiastic Southlanders made an all-night train journey to Christchurch to see Southland play, Canterbury won by 21 to 3 and two years later Canterbury again defeated Southland by 8 points to 3. Was there mud and slush on Lancaster Park that day? The game was played in the worst conditions imaginable.
It was anticipated that Canterbury's 1946 challenge would be strong and six of the team played for the South Island at Wellington the previous Saturday. Three of their team were All Blacks in W. G. Argus, J. G. Bond and P.K. Rhind.
Thirty eight games had been played between the North and South Island teams by 1946 with North having won 20 and South 15 and three of them drawn.
Mossburn V Balfour - Curtain-raiser
The teams were:
Mossburn: A. Sutherland, J. Feeley, V. Chewings, R. Carston, R. Carter, R. Shaw, R. King, M. Cournane, W. Carran, G. Kirker, F. Cournane, C. Boyd, J. Riorden, W. Cooper, A. Carran. G. Grey, M. McCorkindale, B. Hamilton, P. Alchrist.
Balfour: F. Proctor, H. Stevens, D. McLean, W. Stewart, A. Stewart, R. Gillespie, W. Cooper, D. Gillespie, T. Cahill, W. Rutter, R. Stewart, J. Stevens, B. Watson, C. Stevens, D. McGregor, M Orr, F. Hailes, S. Grant, J. Robb.
This game was of great interest due to these two senior teams having played the previous week. The game ended in a scoreless draw and this game was the play off for the Northern Sub-Union championship.
Southland was successful in their defence of the Ranfurly Shield in 1946 before a crowd of 9-10,000.
Webster was brillant at full back for Southland and was well supported by Argus who had scintillating runs and the power of G. Cameron the front row forward.
Although the lighter Southland pack took a battering in the rucks and lineouts (21-9) it did not deter them from taking full advantage of the dry conditions and had good breaks which got their backs on to the front foot.
The Canterbury forwards were ferocious and more often than not used dubious tactics to try and upset the Southlanders. The crowd let the Red and Black know that they were not happy with some of their incidents and especially one, where they injured Webster when he was going down on the ball. Webster spoke with his boot though and carved of territory with accurate line kicking.
Argus was impressive for Canterbury and showed his pace on more than one occasion. He was a class three quarter and would have been wanted for the South African tour.
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