Stags claim derby win over Otago

NATHAN BURDON IN DUNEDIN
Last updated 16:32 28/09/2013
Robbie Robinson
Photosport
ON A ROLL: Southland's Robbie Robinson rides the tackle of Otago's Jayden Spence.

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Southland have celebrated skipper Jamie Mackintosh's 100th game with another come-from-behind win, this time a 38-32 victory against Otago in Dunedin.

The Stags trailed 20-11 at halftime but managed to claw their way back into the game on the back of a superb performance from Scott Eade.

Eade scored a vital try, set up another and kicked a penalty from his own side of halfway in a Boys Own display.

It was Southland's third win in a row and it also saw the Donald Stuart memorial trophy return to Invercargill for the first time since 2011.

Willis Halaholo finished off some clinical work by the Stags' backline when they were presented with a big overlap midway through the first half.

After Robbie Robinson straightened, Cardiff Vaega took on the lone defender and grubbered the ball long into the Otago in-goal for Halaholo to dot down.

That try brought Southland back into the game after a Buxton Popoali'I try following a searing break down the right hand touchline had the home team ahead 10-3.

Robinson was again in the game just before the break with an ill-advised chip kick in front of the posts which was gratefully accepted by Hayden Parker, who scampered away to score and help Otago to a 20-11 lead at halftime.

Southland roared their way into the second half with an early try to Vaega after a searing break by Scott Eade, who had moved out from halfback to first-five after Marty McKenzie limped off.

They might have taken the lead soon after when Elliot Dixon scored from a long movement down the right hand side but a Robinson forward pass was found by the TMO.

Two minutes later Eade landed a 51m penalty to give Southland a 21-20 lead, but a defensive lapse by Halaholo saw Otago centre Kieran Moffatt cruise in for the home team's third try and a 27-21 lead.

Dixon cut the deficit to one point with 20 minutes to go when he powered over after the Stags had turned down a penalty kick.

Popoali'i's second try and a piece of opportunistic magic by Eade saw Otago with a one point lead heading into the final 10 minutes.

Replacement halfback Taylor Adams finally put the Stags into the lead when he snuck over after a Vaega break for a 38-32 lead to Southland and a tense finish for the 6253-strong crowd.

Southland 38 (Willis Halaholo, Cardiff Vaega, Elliot Dixon, Scott Eade, Taylor Adams tries; Marty McKenzie pen, Eade 2 pen, 2 con)

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Otago 32 (Buxton Popoali'i 2, Hayden Parker, Kieran Moffatt tries; Hayden Parker 2 pen, 3 con)

HT:11-20

- Fairfax Media

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