Southland Country's rugby depth will be tested today as they chase an all-important win over Otago Country at Nightcaps.
Southland Country have been hit hard by injury since their impressive win over Southland Metro last month.
Openside flanker Phillip Halder from the Riverton club is probably the find of the season for Southland Country but is injured and has all but been ruled out of today's game.
Waikaka's Alex Pearce has been called in to fill the role.
Southland Country coach Jeff Clearwater said it was disappointing for Halder that he would miss such a key game.
"A lot of people have been impressed with him. Even when we played Otago (development) their coaches made special mention of him with the way he played."
Half back Ben Brown is also in good form but he will miss today's game because of a shoulder injury; his replacement is Blake Fairburn.
Centre Logan Moore suffered a serious head injury against Canterbury Country, which forced the game to be called off; he will be replaced by Drummond-Limehills-Star's Jack McGuire.
Lock Logan Byars is under an injury cloud and has been bracketed with John Broughton - a decision is to be made today.
The Country team received some good news with captain Scott McKee to start at No 8 today.
If Southland Country win today, they will join the Otago development team in the South Island interprovincial semifinals along with two teams from the Crusaders region.
If they lose, they still have a chance if they can grab a couple of bonus points out of the game.
"To be honest I haven't even looked at the points. I'm more worried about getting the win," Clearwater said.
Southland Metro finished their round-robin games in the Southland-Otago series and will await the outcome of the Southland-Otago Country game to see if they make the semi-finals.
Meanwhile the Southland under-18 and u-16 teams will take on North Otago in Balclutha today.
David Tamou, Taina Tamou, Jack McGuire, Chris Kenning, Josh Vosawale, Neil Warnock, Blake Fairburn, Scott McKee, Alex Pearce, Brenton Howden, Logan Byars/John Broughton, Willie Broughton, Campbell McIntosh, Lachie McCall, Joe Moir.
Reserves; Nick Sutherland, Aiden van Rooijen, Luke Muir, Dean Chalmers, Tom Meddlicott, Campbell Thompson, Broughton/Byars.
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