Taranaki host Shield holders to open 2014 NPC

Last updated 16:43 11/03/2014
Canterbury NPC champions
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

WHAT A HOOT: Canterbury bellow out their victory chant after winning their sixth consecutive NPC title.

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Wellington Lions far too good for Northland in rain-soaked NPC clash Beauden Barrett driven Taranaki fall to Otago in rain-soaked NPC clash West Coast upset Buller on big occasion in Heartland Championship Canterbury end Auckland's winning streak at Eden Park with NPC victory Waikato prop Ben Tameifuna hoping for better birthday this time round Important NPC assignment for Southland Stags against North Harbour Joe Moody switches to tighthead in bid to become All Blacks propping swing man Hawke's Bay thump Counties Manukau to continue NPC championship charge Canterbury winger Patrick Osborne hoping to nail All Blacks berth next year Waikato looking to lift for grudge NPC match against Bay of Plenty in Tauranga

Taranaki will host Ranfurly Shield holders Counties-Manukau in New Plymouth in the 2014 NPC rugby opener on August 14.

Just 12 days after the Super Rugby final, Yarrow Stadium will see Taranaki host 2013 NPC Premiership semifinalists Counties-Manukau on Thursday, August 14, at 7.35pm.

Six-time defending champions Canterbury will open their campaign against Auckland on Saturday, August 16, at 4.35pm.

The Steelers will defend the Ranfurly Shield for the first time against NPC opponents the following week, against Otago in Pukekohe on Saturday, August 23, at 4.35pm. Counties-Manukau will defend the Shield in earlier matches against Mid Canterbury and South Canterbury of the Heartland Championship.

Hawke's Bay, who along with Otago, won then lost the Ranfurly Shield in consecutive weeks last season, will get the second Shield challenge on Saturday, August 30, at 2.35pm.

The full 2014 NPC draw can be viewed here.

The NPC Premiership and Championship semifinals will be held the weekend of October 17-19, with the NPC Championship final on Friday, October 24 and NPC Premiership final on Saturday, October 25.

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