25 Aug 2011

Hundreds welcome Shield's return to Taranaki

8:05 pm on 25 August 2011

Hundreds of Taranaki rugby fans have turned out to welcome the Ranfurly Shield back to the province.

Taranaki lifted the Shield from Southland by 15-12 in a try-free match in Invercargill on Wednesday night - 15 years to the day since it last won the trophy.

Beauden Barrett kicked five penalties for the visitors. All of Southland's points came from the boot of Justin Wilson. The score was 9-6 at half time.

About 500 people were at New Plymouth airport when the team touched down with the Shield on Thursday and hundreds more lined the city's main street for a victory parade.

Captain Craig Clarke says he expected a big welcome, but the turnout was breathtaking.

Taranaki defends the Ranfurly Shield against Hawke's Bay on Sunday in its last game of the ITM Cup round-robin.