David Tamou was within centimetres of becoming Southland Country's rugby hero on Saturday as he looked to snatch what would have been a dramatic win over Otago Country at Nightcaps.
Down 15-10 and with time almost up in the traditional clash, fullback Tamou spotted a gap, took it and found himself in the clear.
However, as he headed for what looked to be the match-winning try, the cover defence squeezed him towards the sideline and he stepped out.
Southland Country coach Jeff Clearwater was one of those who thought they might have secured victory.
"He ghosted through a gap and he sort of had the fullback to beat and went on the outside of him. From the sideline I thought, ‘he's in, he's in' and we were jumping up and down but he must have clipped the sideline and went into touch."
Clearwater said Southland Country should have had the match sewn up earlier.
He felt his team dominated in the first half, playing with the wind, but was unable to turn that possession and territory into points.
"We made plenty of inroads, we probably made three or four good linebreaks but we just couldn't finish off and convert those opportunities."
Southland Country's bonus point means they finished the Southland-Otago second-tier provincial round-robin series tied on six competition points with Southland Metro.
Otago Development had already qualified as one of the two Southland-Otago teams to play Canterbury teams in the South Island semifinals, with Southland Country or Southland Metro to be the other.
Neither Clearwater nor Southland Metro coach Damien Pine was sure yesterday which team would go through.
Southland Country beat Metro during the round robin but Metro boast the superior points differential.
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