The Auckland rugby side has plenty of respect for Ranfurly Shield holders Southland heading into their clash in Invercargil tonight.
Auckland's backup All Black midfielder Benson Stanley says he's been impressed by what he's seen of the Stags, who top the ITM Cup standings this season.
Over the 106 years of the Ranfurly Shield, Auckland has defended it 148 times.... Southland 16, including 5 times this year.
Although Southland seldom beat Auckland, up till last weekend they'd never beaten Waikato.
Stanley says Southland's 7-6 win in Hamilton shows what Auckland's up against, even though the hosts are missing one of their best backs..
The winner of the match will go top of the ITM Cup standings.