It almost seems inconceivable, that a Waikato team could venture to Taranaki in an attempt to snatch the Ranfurly Shield and not have a player in their squad with any experience of challenging or defending the Log o' Wood.
Not since 2007, when Waikato failed to get past their first defence, has the Shield spent time in Hamilton.
It is also a reflection of the turnover of players at NPC level these days that the cupboard is bare when Waikato come to draw on some Shield experience.
And that's something that could prove crucial given just how much the Taranaki players are starting to learn about defending it.
Waikato know how to spoil a good Taranaki party, though.
Think 1996 and their 40-19 win to end Taranaki's fortnight of Shield fun.
Think 2004 when the cow bells rang at Yarrow Stadium as they halted Taranaki's likely charge into the NPC semifinals with a 26-20 win.
In fact, Taranaki have beaten Waikato just twice in seven Shield matches dating back to 1951.
Not that these are typical times.
Taranaki sit second equal on the NPC table, Waikato are battling for premiership survival.
On an ordinary night, the match looks fairly clear cut, though only a fool would write off Waikato.
Tenderlink Taranaki captain Craig Clarke knows a lot about the pride north of his province's border, having been based in Waikato at the Chiefs for the past four Super Rugby seasons.
While it is impossible to compare the Chiefs' environment with that of the Waikato squad, there are enough players in their side who know a few more things about winning big games after their 2012 Super Rugby experience.
It is whether there is enough confidence left in their rugby psyche that will be the key tonight.
Clarke felt after going through his side's preview for tonight's match that Waikato were not far away from getting things right.
He was confident, however, that the players would take enough positives out of Saturday's 59-18 demolition of Manawatu on Saturday to back it up tonight with virtually the same personnel, the only change coming on the blindside flank where Jarrad Hoeata comes in for Kane Barrett.
"It's good to have Jarrad back and the leadership he will bring against a pretty experienced team," Clarke said.
There were areas he thought Taranaki could improve on.
One was tidying up their kick-off reception and another the lineout, where they have struggled at times, despite having some of the most experienced set piece players in the competition.
"Without having too much time to prepare, we have done a bit of work there because we have got things to work on such as timing and lifting technique," he said.
Taranaki's home fans will also be keen to see Taranaki's back three of Kurt Baker, Andre Taylor and Frazier Climo carry on from the dynamic work they produced against Manawatu, although it is unlikely Waikato will be so generous with their kick returns.
Taranaki's first priority, as it has been for all their previous home games in 2012, was to hold on to the Shield first and foremost and not worry about the ramifications of what it would mean to the NPC table.
In this instance, Clarke thought having to face Waikato as their last opponent before putting the Shield to one side was a good thing.
"We know how direct and physical they play but you can't assume too much because they could bring some key moves to try to trick us, so you have to be ready for anything," he said.
Much of Waikato's attack was likely to centre on dynamic halfback Tawera Kerr-Barlow and his ability to put the opposition's defence on the back foot with his sniping around the fringes, usually on the back of some grunty pick and go work by their pack.
"If they get quick ball, they're going to be pretty hard to stop," Clarke said.
Aside from the retention of the Shield for another year, Taranaki can also take a step toward getting a home semifinal if they can win tonight with away matches against Southland and Wellington to come.
- © Fairfax NZ News