26 years, 27-0!

They scored a point for every year it’s been gone – plus one for luck.

Tonight’s 27-0 shutout of Auckland was the biggest win by any Wellington Shield challenger in the 104 year history of the Log o’ Wood.

During the Great Black-and-Golden Shield Era of 1981-82 (yeah right), I paid a high price for waiting five games to get into the Shield spirit.

The first challenge I watched at Athletic Park turned out to be the last for a generation. 

To put it in perspective, my eldest son, who arrived three years after the Log’s departure, has had to wait until adulthood to have a chance to experience the otherprovincely phenomenon known as Shield Fever.

(Not that you give a stuff about rugby, eh Mike?)

That Canterbury challenge of 1982 was doubly painful, as I had to endure it surrounded by a gaggle of cocky, drunken, red-and-black scarfwaving Cantabs – my cousin Graham and his Christchurch varsity mates. 

For the 2008 reclamation game (nobody really doubted we’d win), Iris and I chose the next best thing to the old Park – The Temperance Bar in Blair Street, complete with two-tiered grandstand – the upper deck appropriately called The Millard.

The first half consisted largely of twinkle-toed-but-butter-fingered Aucklanders hurtling themselves  upfield then dropping the ball. 

They did this a lot.

Our guys only came within sight of Auckland’s line approximately twice, but each time had the decency to cross it.

10-0 at the break.

Lion rampant

Wellington took a while to get going after the break, but with Auckland continuing their hot potato routine, victory for the Lions was never in doubt – even with Weepu missing 4 from 5.

This team of Jamie Joseph’s is showing a Canterburyesque reliability that we haven’t seen up this way for a while.

Triumph at The Temperance.



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