1 Sep 2013

Hawke's Bay ready to take on noisy Otago crowd

9:46 am on 1 September 2013

Hawke's Bay will face a boisterous crowd of 12,500 for Otago's first defence of the Ranfurly Shield.

Forsyth Barr Stadium is being renamed Tony Brown's Place for Sunday's match against Hawke's Bay, with that many tickets sold so far.

Otago won the Shield for the first time in 56 years when they beat Waikato last weekend.

Brown's opposite, the Hawke's Bay coach Craig Philpott, says his side is ready for whatever size Otago crowd they'll come up against.

Hawke's Bay had two challenges last year, losing to Taranaki and Waikato.

Otago last had the Shield in 1957, defending it once before losing it to Taranaki.

Otago assistant coach Kees Meeuws says seeing the impact the Shield's had on the region will lift his side for their first defence.