Canterbury halfback Andy Ellis expects a tough day at the office against a "quality" Taranaki side at Yarrow Stadium today.
The Canterbury contingent arrived to blue skies at New Plymouth Airport yesterday afternoon but former All Black Ellis anticipated the conditions might have changed by game time today.
"The west coast gets a bit rugged and I hear it's going to be raining," he said.
"You have to expect that coming up for a shield challenge and it's always going to be tough."
Ellis has played at Yarrow Stadium a few times over the years and said he always enjoyed it. "When you have a quality side like Taranaki do and the experience and excitement they have, it's a big ask and tough work."
Senior Canterbury players have spoken to the team about the tradition of the Ranfurly Shield in the lead-up to today's clash.
"We understand how much it means for people back home and you have them coming up wishing you luck and telling you to bring it home," Ellis said.
Despite being aware of the good surf report in Taranaki, Ellis said he had not brought the surfboard along this weekend. "We don't have anything planned, just a big game of rugby," he said.
Canterbury captain George Whitelock said there were a few changes in his side's lineup but the players stepping up were more than capable.
"If we play well and put in a performance to win, then we'll be more than happy to take the shield home with us," he said.
Whitelock said there were no pre-arranged shield parades in Canterbury following today's game.
"We've got our feet firmly on the ground," he said.
The southern team has no intentions of checking out Taranaki's street parade this morning either. Whitelock said they would not be making an appearance but congratulated the province on getting more than 17 floats for the occasion.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Have you lost faith in Taranaki rugby?Related story: Taranaki lose to Waikato
Get Taranaki's frequent news and sport updates