A rare treble for Southland's centurion

LAST HURRAH: Jimmy Cowan of Southland.
LAST HURRAH: Jimmy Cowan of Southland.

Even with the spotlight on him, Southland rugby centurion Jimmy Cowan was keen to divert it the way of his team-mates yesterday.

Cowan became the second player in New Zealand rugby to bring up a rare treble with 100 games for his province and his Super Rugby franchise, along with 50 tests for the All Blacks as he followed in the footsteps of Tana Umaga.

But for Cowan, last night's 35-7 win was more about the Stags getting off their duck and banking their first win in five starts this season. "I'm thankful how it's panned out, delighted to get my 100th in front of family and friends," he said.

Cowan first played for Southland in 2000, bringing up his 50th game in 2004. All Black commitments have meant it's taken him another eight years to get to triple figures. As a measure of his longevity, former Southland halfback Justin Marshall, in the commentary box yesterday, recalled playing against him for Canterbury, while Cowan's former Highlanders team-mate Danny Lee was in the Hawke's Bay coaching box last night.

Cowan paid credit to his team-mates, the people of Southland and his family for their support during a career which has had its ups and down. He saved another bouquet for Stags coach David Henderson for giving him the chance to play despite his impending move to England.

"You've got to give credit to Goof (Henderson) and the coaching team, it's not easy with the sort of contract I've signed going into a season.

"I owe him immensely and it's something I'll remember."

The Southland Times