Tough task for Southland
There is plenty on the line for the Southland Rams today in Christchurch.
They could potentially make history by becoming the first Southland team to beat Canterbury and go a long way to booking a South Island provincial competition finals spot at the same time.
However, the reality is that they are at long odds to do that given several factors.
The fact Canterbury have recorded 40-plus wins over Otago and Tasman gives a pretty strong indicator of the challenge.
The Road Safety Southland-sponsored Rams team has also had a disrupted buildup with its round two game against West Coast abandoned because the West Coast team had a breakdown on their trip to Invercargill.
They then had the bye last weekend and potentially could be a little underdone.
Southland will also be missing Willie Cameron and Shaun Tamariki-Todd who are out injured, while there had been hope Byron Curtis would turnout for today's game but he too has been ruled out injured.
Curtis is part of the Canterbury Bulls national premiership squad and with the Bulls having the bye this weekend it was hoped the He Tauaa back may be able to turn out for the Rams.
The Rams will also have to contend with the long van trip they made yesterday to Christchurch for the game but coach Greg Dawson actually viewed it as a positive spending time as a team together.
"It's a nice wee cruisy trip up there today, it's good to mix with the guys outside of the game and we've just got to switch on when it is time to. We'll have a training run when we get up there tonight as well," Dawson said yesterday.
Soon after today's game the majority of the team will fly back to Invercargill, while the others will stay the night in Christchurch and bring the vans home on Sunday.
Dawson said if his team showed plenty of effort anything could happen even if his side has been given little chance by many.
"If the guys can block away who they are playing and play their best that's all you can do. If it falls your way on the day then who knows.
"I said to the boys it is a mark a Southland team hasn't made yet, why not tomorrow? [A Southland team] is eventually going to do it, why can't it be this team?"
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