The cowbells will be ringing loud tonight as the faithful gather to watch the Mooloos try to grab the most holy of rugby grails - the Ranfurly Shield.
Waikato rugby has a glorious habit of overcoming the odds when it counts, and there are those out there who think we can beat holders Taranaki.
Waikato Rugby Supporters Club president Wayne Albiston says one should never take Waikato for granted.
"Our boys have had their ups and downs this season but we are a good outside chance to win this," he said.
"Something special happens when Waikato runs onto the paddock for a Ranfurly game, just wait and see."
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker warned the naysayers to remember Waikato is the rugby heartland of New Zealand.
But what will happen if we do win?
"Well, we certainly know how to party and if it does happen, if we do win, then we will have to think about ways to celebrate it," Ms Hardaker says.
Someone who knows about how sweet that celebration could taste is Mooloo legend Steve Gordon, who enjoyed Ranfurly victories in 1993, 1996 and 1997.
He rates winning the Shield second only to being an All Black and believes there is no reason why this year's Waikato side can't lift it from Taranaki tonight in New Plymouth.
Gordon, who is these days the Waikato Rugby Union vice-president, recalls the 1996 team he captained going to New Plymouth in a similar situation to this year's side after mixed results and returning with the famous log of wood after a 40-19 victory.
"We saw it as an opportunity. We knew we had some talent there and so we knew we had nothing to lose, so we decided we've just got to hoe into it."
Gordon said there was no reason why the 2012 team could not add to the rich fabric of the province's Ranfurly Shield history.
"Fortune favours the bold and they've got to be bold."
Others are not so sure.
Taranaki Daily News editor Roy Pilott fired the first shot, telling the Waikato Times: " I can assure you, you won't win this week."
Our readers, too, seem less than confident.
Ben Kennedy said a Waikato win "was never going to happen".
"This is a not a good team this year," he said.
Alison Denton was a little more positive: "I would love to see them bring home the Log of Wood but sadly I think Taranaki will be too strong for them," she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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