Halfback Jack Stratton to captain Canterbury in Shield Challenge

Halfback Jack Stratton will captain Canterbury in Wednesday night's Ranfurly Shield challenge against Wanganui.
Iain McGregor

Halfback Jack Stratton will captain Canterbury in Wednesday night's Ranfurly Shield challenge against Wanganui.

New Canterbury rugby coach Glenn Delaney has named four debutants in his starting side for Wednesday night's Ranfurly Shield challenge against Wanganui.

Waihora fullback Mark Maitland, Lincoln University first five Brett Cameron and wing Ngane Punivai will all earn their first cap, as will University loose forward Sam Godwin, who will be vice captain.

Lincoln University halfback Jack Stratton, who started for the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians against the British and Irish Lions in Whangarei in the tour opener, will skipper the side at Christchurch's AMI Stadium.

There could be several new caps off the bench in New Brighton hooker Feleti Kaitu'u, Sydenham tighthead prop Jack Straker, and a group of Lincoln University players including, prop Joel Hintz, lock Jonathan Osborne, utility back Finn Strawbridge and outside back Caleb Makeke.

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Canterbury's side is dominated by club players with fringe Crusaders Oli Jager and Mitchell Dunshea the only contracted Super Rugby players featuring. 

"We've picked a team on the basis we didn't know Super Rugby could bring us and the guys we have contracted for Canterbury, we don't know what their availability would be ...

"We've picked a group that we felt could play for the Shield and do it justice." 

Delaney said Stratton was an easy choice as captain.

"When you spend time with him, you understand he's a deep thinker of the game, he's well respected. He understands tactically and strategically how to play.

"When you put them on top of a pretty tidy skill set, you've got a player that's beautifully placed to lead the team."

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He said it was exciting to name 10 debutants in the 23-man side and hoped players would make the most of their opportunity. 

Providing that challenge is repulsed Canterbury would take the Ranfurly Shield on the road to play Mid Canterbury in Ashburton on August 4, prior to the start of the NPC.

Canterbury embarked on their 15th Ranfurly Shield tenure in September when they beat Waikato 29-23 in Hamilton.

They defended the Shield once, against North Harbour (47-18), before switching focus to retaining the national provincial championship.

Kickoff is at 7.35pm. 

Canterbury: Mark Maitland, Ngane Punivai, Poasa Waqanibau, Michael Green, Marshall Suckling, Brett Cameron, Jack Stratton (c), Dylan Nel, Billy Harmon, Sam Godwin (vc), Hamish Dalzell, Mitchell Dunshea, Oli Jager, Nick Werahiko, Chris Gawler. 
Reserves: Feleti Kaitu'u, Joel Hintz, Jack Straker, Jonathan Osborne, JJ Manning, Steve Alfeld, Finn Strawbridge, Caleb Makene.

 - Stuff


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