Rugby - Southland v Northland
Northland 13 (Ben Seymour try; Ben Seymour con, 2 pen), Southland 9 (Scott Eade 3 pen)
HT: 10-6 Northland
An intercept try to Northland first five-eighth Ben Seymour 17 minutes into the game proved to be the difference in their 13-9 national provincial championship win over Southland in Whangarei this evening.
If you were to describe this game as being stop start and messy you would probably would be kind as Southland dominated possession and territory and fired more shots than the home team but failed to fire the killer shot.
The handling errors flowed like a white water rapid and young referee Brendon Pickerill probably didn’t play his part in helping the game get going as he stamped his mark on anything he could.Southland first five-eighth Scott Eade opened the scoring with a 42m penalty after just a minute when Northland were penalised for ruck infringement.
In the next 10 minutes Eade and Seymour both missed shots at goal before Seymour delivered what turned out to be the crucial play of the game.
Southland had a scrum inside Northland’s half where No 8 Hale T-Pole looked to get his team going forward.
The ball was recycled to flanker John Hardie at first receiver who shovelled it on, however Seymour read the play well swooping on the Hardie pass to scoot in and score.
A decade on from last thrilling New Zealand rugby crowds Northland wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca turned back the clock late in the first half when he got on the outside of the Southland defence and looked to have setup fullback Whirua Meltzer in his return New Zealand provincial rugby.
However the heavily involved TMO tonight was called on and he ruled the hand off from Caucaunibuca to Meltzer was forward.
Northland went into the halftime break with a 10-6 lead which they probably would have been comfortable with given they were lagging in every other statistic that the scoreboard.
They had just 31 percent possession and 42 percent territory and were made to make 55 first half tackles to Southland’s 24.
The second half played out much the same with Southland hogging the ball and territory and often bent the Northland defensive line but those surges led to nothing as far as points.
Just a penalty each was it in the second half as Northland tried their very best to lose the game with time running out but the Stags failed to pounce.
As far as a spectacle it was not a great advertisement for the game of rugby and just maybe when both teams review the tape they might end up more confused with what they were doing than before they pushed play.
For Southland youngsters Cardiff Vaega and Michael Fatialofa were good while for Northland Meltzer was their best attacking threat and looseforward Dan Pryor was heavily involved.
Rugby - Town-versus-Country
For the second year in a row it is Country who have prevailed with bragging rights in their Southland rugby showdown with Town which was played today at Rugby Park.
The game doubled as the traditional annual Town-Country showdown and a game in the Highlanders-wide second tier provincial competition which also includes Otago Development and Otago Country.
Despite Town opening the scoring through halfback Sonny Rangotoheriri to lead after seven minutes Country soon wound into it their work playing like me possessed to firstly lead 18-12 and before stretching it out to 31-12 with close to 15 minutes to play.
Town rallied with two late tries to give themselves a small opening of a possible late win but deservedly it was Country who hung on to a 31-24 win.
Rugby - First XV Schools
Southland Boys’ High School threw a spirited shot at Otago Boys' High School today in the Highlanders-wide First XV competition final but it was the Dunedin school who for the second year in a row were crowned champions.
Otago Boys’ High grabbed a tight 29-24 win which will advance them to the South Island final against Crusaders regional winners Marlborough Boys’ High School.
In other matches, King's High a had a narrow 18-15 victory over Dunstan, John McGlashan posted a 28-3 win over Menzies College, Gore High School accounted for Mt Aspiring 24-5 and St Peter's College beat St Kevin's 23-18.
Old Boys left their best for last on a day when Dunedin was basking in Ranfurly Shield fever
as they accounted for Grants Braes 5-0 in their Football South Premier league clash at
Starting the day it was a game Old Boys had to win if they were to have any chance of finishing
out of the bottom two placings.
However it was to no avail as their nearest rival Queenstown Rovers also
won 3-2 over Green Island to ensure Old Boys 9th placing in the 10 team competition was final.
Goals to Callum Smith Jack Boland and James Tucker gave Old Boys a comfortable
3-nil half time lead.
With Smith and Tucker adding another goal each in the second spell to cement the win.
The Charity Cup final was won by Southend United 1-nil over Old Boys thanks to a second half penalty
scored by player coach Iain Walker.
In the Edinburgh Cup final Thistle needed extra time and a late goal to claim
the trophy 1-nil against a determined Western Rovers unit.
The Southland Times