Adams was a key player for the New Zealand under-20 team earlier this year, a standout for beaten finalists Star when he returned to Galbraith Shield action and the starting halfback for the Stags through the first half of their 2013 campaign.
But he didn't survive Southland's indifferent start to the season, losing his run-on gig to Scott Eade in round six after the latter had been impressive in the unfamiliar role off the bench.
Eade had deservedly retained the No 9 jersey until the loss of Marty McKenzie saw him moved back to his more customary position at first-five for today's sudden-death playoff game.
The timing could be ideal for Southland, with Eade looking a little sluggish at the base against Counties Manukau and Adams itching for another chance.
"I started the season starting, and then midway through had a bit of a slip-up," Adams said.
"I think for the first couple of games I was just rushing myself and not taking the time to go through my processes. In one of the games my defence wasn't up to scratch. I think my passing is coming out a lot crisper. I've been playing some good footy off the bench, bringing some good energy and hopefully I can do that from the get-go."
Adams said he had taken his demotion as part of the life of a rugby player.
"You aren't always going to be in the limelight, or starting. You have to take a back seat sometimes."
Southland will take some setpiece confidence into today's game, with an improving scrum and one of the best lineouts in the competition.
However, they will be up against a team that has a better defensive record, a much better attacking record and deservedly took out the championship's round-robin.
"They are really strong across the board, especially on defence. They bring a real hardness on defence and spread out well across the field. We need to use different options, because it's not just about bashing the ball up, that's where they will hurt us and turn the ball over," Adams said.
"We know we can play good footy when we get it right. It's just about getting the little things right, sticking to the game plan and executing it."
Stags coach David Henderson has targeted two areas his team needs to be better at to give itself a chance against Tasman - gaining at least parity at the breakdown and cutting down on the individual errors, which have been the root cause for much of Southland's inconsistency this season.
"We are pretty confident we can go up there and give a good showing," Henderson said.
- © Fairfax NZ News