Putting aside genuine upsets there are four or five teams who could realistically have the Shield over the summer.
Taranaki ought to be able to repel Otago in their first defence but then face Auckland, with both sides with All Blacks out who knows who would win. If Taranaki get through, they look a cut above the remainder of the Championship teams they will face at home.
Auckland take the Shield and then immediately face Tasman. Tasman would be slight favourites to win their first stint. If Auckland get past that the biggest threat will be Waikato two weeks later.
If Tasman win then they go to a Crusaders derby on 7 November and would be favourites to retain it. However if Canterbury steals it back it is straight back with a last round challenge against Auckland.