Stags go down
Southland have undone much of the good work from last week with a 27-17 loss to Manawatu in Palmerston North tonight.
After recording their first win of the season with a good result against Waikato at home, the Stags season is again in jeopardy after falling to their fourth loss from five starts.
The Stags led 7-3 after 10 minutes following a perfect driving maul which saw John Hardie crash over, but most of the play in the first half went the way of the home team.
The Turbos scored tries through Highlanders centre Jason Emery and halfback Papa Wharewera, and had another disallowed after being held up over the line during the first 40 minutes.
A Fraser Stone try just after the break had Manawatu ahead 24-10.
The Stags had few answers for the likes of No 8 James Oliver, son of former All Black Frank, Wharewera and first five Jade Te Rure.
They fell off too many tackles through the first half of the game, and were unable to gain enough advantage from a very good lineout.
Highlanders prop Ma'afu Fia had JP Koen under pressure early at scrumtime, although the Pirates/Old Boys prop should not be unhappy with his start after coming into the team following the suspension of Jamie Mackintosh and the eye injury to Tuki Raimona.
Southland were able to force linebreaks out of the Manawatu line, with Cardiff Vaega and Bryan Milne both threatening, but too often they got isolated after gettting behind the advantage line.
The Stags were back in the game with 25 minutes to go after a clever pass from Scott Eade, who had replaced Tayler Adams at halfback just after halftime, to Tim Boys saw the flanker stroll over next to the posts.
With 20 minutes to go Southland were hammering away at the Manawatu goal line but had no answer for the Turbos defence and eventually left the ball unprotected at the back of the ruck.
A turnover soon after was punished by Emery, who had the Stags scrambling back at their own goal line.
With 10 minutes to go Southland opted for a 5m scrum and again the Manawatu defence held despite some desperate attacking play.
Manawatu 27 (Jason Emery, Papa Wharewera, Fraser Stone tries; Jade Te Rure 2 pen, 3 con)
Southland 17 (John Hardie, Tim Boys tries; Marty McKenzie con, pen, Scott Eade con)
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