Stags set tone for great weekend

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 30/09/2013

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The smiles will be broad at the Rugby Southland offices at Rugby Park this morning as they reflect on what was a golden weekend for the code in the south.

The Stags 38-32 win over Otago, in Dunedin, headlined the weekend but it was some of the wins in the age-grades which will be stretching those smiles wider.

The Southland under-16 and under-18 teams were part of a double-header against their Otago counterparts at Rugby Park in Invercargill yesterday and it was all Southland.

The Southland under-16 firstly recorded an encouraging 19-12 over Otago before the under-18 team then stepped up to grab a 26-17 win.

Southland led 13-6 at halftime and didn't let up in the second half against an Otago team which included several players from the top nationally ranked Otago Boys' High School first XV.

Southland under-18 coach Rodger Dawson said the win was pleasing but they still had plenty of improvement to come.

Standout players in the under-18 win included Jaye Thompson-Te Muunu, Michael Molloy and Sela Toga.

They will now play Marlborough on Friday in the quarterfinals of the South Island under-18 tournament.

Yesterday's win, however, looks to have come at a cost with key player Liam Howley injured.

The halfback was this year selected in the New Zealand Barbarians secondary schools' team.

Meanwhile, the Southland secondary schoolgirls' rugby team retained their South Island title in the tournament played in Gore on Saturday and yesterday.

First up they played a combined team made up of districts from the Hanan Shield region and it was Southland who run out comfortable 57-5 winners.

In their later game on Saturday they scrapped out a tough 5-5 draw. However, a bonus point 31-15 win over Otago yesterday was enough to claim the title.

Standout players included Laura Buckingham, Molly Tomlins and Kate Smith in the forwards and Sana Sotutu and Grace Earland in the backs.

Some of the Southland secondary school team will now push for the Southland sevens team which will play in a South Island qualifying tournament in Timaru with the hope to qualify for the nationals in January.

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- The Southland Times

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