Stags NPC preseason
The Southland Stags have suffered a shock 40-38 loss to Mid Canterbury in a pre-season fixture in Oamaru today.
It was the first of two pre-season hitouts before the Stags start their national provincial championship campaign against Bay of Plenty in Invercargill on Friday August 15.
The Stags got out to a 24-5 lead against the Heartland Championship side before it started to all go wrong.
Mid Canterbury gained momentum to go from 24-5 down to get out in front 34-24.
A couple of charge down tries got the Stags back into the lead but with time almost up, and the score in favour of Southland at 38-37, Mid Canterbury first five-eighth Murray Williams delivered the killer blow.
Williams landed a penalty to grab a historic 40-38 win for Mid Canterbury.
It was not the start Brad Mooar would have been after in his Stags coaching tenure and the fact his team leaked 40 points to a second tier team which be just as concerning as the loss itself.
Southland were missing Super Rugby Players Jamie Mackintosh, Josh Bekhuis, John Hardie, Elliott Dixon, Lima Sopoaga and Cardiff Veaga but should have still had enough firepower to beat a team like Mid Canterbury who themselves were missing some key players.
Bluff's loyal band of supporters got the result they came for when the port team triumphed over gallant losers Wyndham 22-16 in the Southland-wide Division One Rugby Championship grand final on a wet Rugby Park in Invercargill today.
The result was a fitting one which capped off a significant year of 125th celebrations for the Bluff club, players and supporters. Two years ago Bluff beat Wyndham in the division two final on its historic Foyle Street ground at Bluff.
Today, the two teams bridged the gap to the top two tiers of first division on a high note in a game that could have gone either way at the drop of a hat.
Bluff players and supporters handed out many accolades to the gutsy young Wyndham challengers who were certainly worthy finalists.
Bluff's heavier pack and formidable first phase runners off the fringes made matters difficult for the Wyndham players who never flinched and went up to meet them.
The wet conditions ruled out fancy work and frills and made stern demands on accuracy and support players running off the shoulders of ball carriers. Both teams scored a try apiece. Bluff goal kicker Jayleel Faamoe-Ioane kicked five penalties and a conversion.
Wyndham's second half try was a gem when its backs ran sharply on the blind side and created a three on two overlap for Campbell Thomson to touch down wide out and Wyndham led 13-9.
Bluff dug deep, kicked another penalty goal and sealed the game when Junior Toparea's try was converted for a 22-16 final score.
Favourites Marist were awarded the division two grand final on a points differential count back over Blues when scores were still tied 6-all after 10 minutes each way of extra time. Both teams kicked two penalty goals.
On another wet Central Pirates-Star ground at Wilsons Crossing, the young Waiau Star team from Tuatapere won the Plate Division Two Final 15-6 over hosts Central Pirates Star who had beaten them narrowly a week earlier in the final qualifying round.
Highlanders First XV Competition
Mt Aspiring College 17 - Waitaki Boys' High School 17.
King's High School 39 - St Kevin's College 17.
John McGlashan College 18 - Menzies College 10.
Otago Boys' High School 35 - Southland Boys' High School 30.
Dunstan High School 73 - Central Southland College 5.
South Otago High School 34 - Gore High School 11.
St Peter's College 17 - James Hargest College 6.
Queens Park dented Old Boys perfect winning record for the 2014 Southland Football Donald Gray cup competition when they held the already crowned champion team to a 3-3 draw in theirfinal game at the ILT Turf in Invercargill.
Despite the draw Old Boys remained unbeaten for the season and added the Larry O'Rorke challenge cup to their 2014 silverware haul.
Old Boys had the better of the early exchanges and missed several goal scoring opportunities before Queens Park took the lead 1-0 in their first real attack when Kevin Downie headed theopening goal of the game.
Old Boys fought back and ten minutes later were all-square at 1-1 when Jack Boland chipped the Park keeper to score.
Boland became provider five minutes later when he supplied a quality cross to the feet of Atain Halley who made no mistake putting Old Boys ahead 2-1.
Five minutes into the second spell a Tobi Reid direct free kick from some twenty metres outlevelled the score at 2-2 and the momentum stepped up as both teams strove for the winning goal.
Mid way through the half Old Boys entrusted a penalty kick to Halley and he stroked it in to give his team a 3-2 lead.
But Queens Park were there for the duration and with full time looming veteran Scott Morton showed a ton of class as he controlled and volleyed an unstoppable shot past the Old Boys keeper to finish the scoring at 3 goals apiece for the afternoon and secure a well deserved point for Queens Park.
All other football was cancelled.