Southland make losing start to NPC season
The Southland Stags have lost their first game of the 2012 national provincial championship against Counties-Manukau in Pukekohe.
Counties scored four tries to none and showed too much power, pace and skill for Southland in the 30-9 win.
The home side turned in a sublime first 40 minutes claiming 80 per cent of territory, off-loading in the tackle at will and turning on a master-class of attacking rugby.
The Stags were lucky that a couple of last passes did not stick early in the game for Counties and they trailed just 18-6 at the break because it could have been much worse.
The Stags were the first team on the board in the second half through a Scott Eade penalty but that was their lot in this game.
Counties scored a further two tries to stretch the final winning margin to 21 points.
Southland will now turn their focus to Wellington next Sunday while the impressive Counties unit will eye Hawke's Bay in Napier on Friday night.
Counties 30 (Fritz Lee 2, Simon Lemalu, Aki Bundee tries; Baden Kerr 2 pen, 2 con).
Southland 9 (Scott Eade 3 pen).
- © Fairfax NZ News