Not convincing ... but a win nonetheless
Southland Metro coach Damien Pine said it wasn't the most convincing display he had seen but his team still did enough to topple Otago Country 28-20 at Balclutha on Saturday.
The game was part of the Highlanders-wide second-tier provincial competition - a competition that also includes Southland Country, Otago Development and Otago Country.
Southland Metro were smarting after suffering a 31-24 loss to Southland Country the week before, while Otago Country were also licking some wounds after they went down 73-12 to Otago Development.
It was the home team, Otago Country, who started the best getting out to a 10-0 lead.
Southland Metro pulled it back to 13-13 at halftime and hit the lead, 23-20, in the second half before pushing it beyond doubt at 28-20 with the game nearing an end.
In the dying minutes, the Southland side pushed for a four-try bonus point but came up short, which may cost them with the top two teams in the Otago-Southland area heading to the semifinals to play the top two teams in the similar competition in the Canterbury region.
Pine was pleased to get the win, although he added there was still plenty to work on.
"We were probably a bit lucky to be honest, it still wasn't a very good day at the office," he said.
He said there were players who did impress and also acknowledged the "ticker" shown by the team to get themselves back in the game and win it after being down 10-nil.
"I thought the experiment with Sonny [Rangitoheriri] at 10 was good, he made quite a few line breaks. I think Keanu [Kahukura] was dangerous with ball in hand, as was Warrick Lynn."
Three yellow cards were dished out during the game, two to Otago Country and one to Southland Metro captain Andrew Mackintosh. It was the second week in a row Mackintosh had been shown a yellow card and he spent 10 minutes off the field.
Southland Metro now eye an assignment against Otago Development, who have run rampant in the first two weeks of the competition.
After running in 73 points against Otago Country in week one, they posted a further 69 points to beat Southland Country 69-3 on Saturday.
- The Southland Times