Horowhenua-Kapiti and South Canterbury will be the Wellington Lions’ two Heartland Championship Ranfurly Shield challengers this season, ahead of the National Provincial Championship starting in August.
The Lions will defend the Ranfurly Shield on the road in Levin against Horowhenua-Kapiti on Wednesday 12 July.
They will then host Heartland Championship Meads Cup winners South Canterbury in a mandatory defence in Wellington on Wednesday 19 July. A venue for that fixture has yet to be announced.
These two challengers will also come in the middle of the business end of the Jubilee Cup club rugby competition, with semi-finals on Saturday 15 July and the final on Saturday 22 July – so a busy fortnight of rugby coming up.
The defence against Horowhenua-Kapiti comes after their first two defences in 2009 were against Heartland opposition, Wairarapa-Bush and Whanganui.
On 2 July 2009, the Lions beat Wairarapa-Bush 90-6 in Masterton and on 9 July 2009 they defeated Whanganui 61-6.
The Lions subsequently repelled the challenge of Auckland (16-15) before succumbing to Canterbury (14-36) in front of 18,500 despondent supporters.
The Lions re-took the Log o’ Wood last season, beating Hawke’s Bay, and subsequently defending it against Waikato to lock it away for the summer.
More details, including kick-off times and ticketing information, will be announced by the WRFU in the coming months. Club Rugby will be pleased to be all over these games as well.