Taranaki have clawed their way to victory over Canterbury, lifting the Log o' Wood in a game that will go down as a Ranfurly Shield classic.
With just five minutes left in the match, Taranaki were trailling by just one point with the score at 23-22, before being awarded a penalty nearly 50-metres out.
With success hinging on the boot of Jordie Barrett, the All Black star made no mistake, booking the Shield's ticket back to New Plymouth with a monstrous nudge, gifting the Bulls a one point lead.
Taranaki held on to their slim lead with Beauden Barrett sending the ball into touch at the fulltime siren, sealing a 22-23 victory for the visitors.
Despite Barrett claiming the game-winning kick and securing the Shield, it was the tireless work of Lachlan Boshier that made the difference for Taranaki.
Throughout the full 80 minutes, Boshier was a menace at the breakdown, displaying an unrelenting work-rate resulting in a series of turnovers often at stifling Canterbury’s momentum up field.
Boshier’s intensity set the standard for the Taranaki forwards with another key turnover coming from Tom Florence in the dying minutes as Canterbury looked to reply to Jordie Barrett’s game-winning kick with a threatening advance into the Bulls’ half.
In addition to the tireless work of Boshier there were several standout performances which made the game Taranaki’s to lose.
A dominant first half saw the Bulls lead 3-20 going into the break.
Freshly picked All Black lock Tupou Vaa’i added to his try tally this season, crossing over in the 10th minute whilst winger Jacob Ratumatavuki-Kneepkens proved electric in open space, feeding off the brilliance of the Barrett brothers, nabbing himself two tries in the opening half.
However it was a second half resurgence from Canterbury that saw the Bull’s relinquish the lead for the first time in the match.
The second half saw Canterbury come out firing with tries coming from Oliver Jager and Richie Mo’unga.
At the 70th minute the scales tipped in Canterbury’s favour, through a spectacular try from Andrew Knewstubb with the home side grinding out a one-point lead although it was Barrett who had the final say in the end.
Taranaki’s last shield victory was also over Canterbury back in 2017 with the Bulls holding the title until 2018.
The shield is expected to return to New Plymouth with the squad tomorrow.