Narrabri Rugby Club and St Albert’s College will meet at Dangar Park on Saturday, March 27, where they will play for the Southwell-Hannaford Shield for the first time since 2017.

The match is played between the two rugby union clubs in memoriam of former Blue Boar Brad Hannaford and his girlfriend Felicity Southwell who tragically died in a car accident back in 2006.

Albies currently holds the shield after winning the most previous contest between the two teams back in 2017.

That victory made it back-to-back wins for the college, with the Blue Boars last winning the shield with a 43-19 victory back in March 2015 on home soil.

Narrabri Rugby Club president Mick Coffey told The Courier that Hunter Harley’s first grade side would include the strongest 15 players available on the day, given the importance of the fixture to the club.

“I’m quite sure it will be [the strongest side available] given the importance of the game,” Coffey said.

“Albies currently hold the shield and they’re not going to give it up easy.

“The two names on that shield have such a strong connection to Narrabri, it certainly won’t be a game where we’ll be mucking around and making funny selections, it’ll be all out from us, we want to win it.

“It’s pretty exciting for us, we missed all of last year, and now that we know there’s a decent colts competition this year we will have four teams fired up and ready to go out and play.

“Talking to people at Albies, a lot of them are keen to come out too.”

All four grades will be in action on the day, with the Blue Boars’ first grade, second grade, colts (under-21s) and women’s sevens sides to play on home soil.

Start times have not yet been allocated for any of the four matches, with the Blue Boars announcing on Monday that kick-off times would be determined closer to the date, based on weather forecast.

Despite the success of the recent Santos Festival of Rugby and the 3000-strong crowd which gathered to watch the NSW Waratahs take on the Queensland Reds at Dangar Park, the club is not yet sure how many spectators will be permitted to enter its home base on March 27.

“We are still working on it, all that’s yet to be confirmed,” Coffey said.

“As soon as we know how that will work we’ll get that information out there as quickly as we can.”

The Blue Boars will have at least one hitout prior to March 27.

On Saturday, March 13, the club will send two men’s teams and a ladies’ side to compete at the Croppa Creek Crows 10s gala day.

The club is also hopeful of playing another trial game on Saturday, March 20, which is yet to be confirmed.

The 2021 Central North Rugby Union season will kick off on Saturday, April 10, with Narrabri to play at home in round one.

For now, pre-season training continues at Dangar Park each Saturday morning from 8am for all players including under-21 colts players.

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