Ellesmere will look to retain the Southbridge Shield on Saturday against North Canterbury at Prebbleton Oval.
Ellesmere regained the shield last year with a 35-20 win in Kaiapoi.
Ellesmere have had one win and one loss in their two games so far this season. They were outclassed 29-10 by a Queensland Country XV on June 25. However, Ellesmere ended their five-year winless stretch against Mid-Canterbury, toppling them 26-24 in Ashburton last Tuesday, which should give them plenty of confidence for the weekend.
Ellesmere coach Alex Robertson said the team were working hard on their scrums and lineouts. “We know if our set-piece goes well that will lay a platform for our attack,” he said.
Ellesmere had the better of the scrums against Mid-Canterbury, even earning a penalty try for scrum dominance, but Robertson said he was expecting North Canterbury to make them work a lot harder.
“It’s a privilege to play for Ellesmere and for the Southbridge Shield and the boys have formed good combinations over the past two games so we’re expecting to do the area proud,” he said.
There will be six games across the grades between the two sub-unions, all played in Prebbleton.
They each won three games last year.
Ellesmere v North Canterbury fixtures on Saturday
Seniors for Southbridge Shield, 3pm, at Prebbleton Oval; colts for Munro Shield, 1.15pm, at Prebbleton Oval; under-18 for McGiffert Trophy, 1.30pm, at Prebbleton 2; under-16 Tiny Hill Shield, noon, at Prebbleton 2; under-65kg, 11.45am, at Prebbleton 1; under-48kg, 10.30am, Prebbleton 1.