Stags season over after semifinal loss
Southland's rugby season has come to an end in Blenheim this afternoon, beaten 49-28 by Tasman in the NPC championship semifinal.
The Stags, who elected to play into the wind in the first half, trailed 30-7 at the break before a fightback which included tries to Bryan Milne and Elliot Dixon which saw them get within nine points of the home side.
Tasman then kicked again, scoring breakout tries to Bryce Heem and replacement midfielder Robbie Malneek to gain back their momentum.
The Stags did well to deny Tasman through the early stages of the game.
Tevita Kolomatangi's long range try was against the run of play, but with the golden boot of Marty Banks on song, Tasman were looking lethal.
Scott Eade celebrated his 21st birthday with a try under the posts after 22 minutes to get the Stags back into the contest at 10-7, but it all started to go wrong from there.
Tasman rattled in 17 unanswered points over the next 18 minutes before halftime, and it would have been more if Banks' final act of the half, a penalty from halfway, did not hit the upright.
Replacement winger Will Murray scored on debut for Southland's fourth try of the game, but it was too little, too late.
Banks scored Tasman's sixth try of the game and converted it for good measure as part of a personal haul of 24 points.
Tasman will go on to play the winner of tomorrow's other semifinal, between Otago and Hawke's Bay in Dunedin, with the winner taking out the championship title and earning automatic promotion into the premiership next season.
Tasman 49 (Tevita Kolomatangi, Liam Squire, Mitchell Scott, Bryce Heem, Robbie Malneek, Marty Banks tries; Banks 5 con, 3 pen) Southland 28 (Scott Eade, Bryan Milne, Elliot Dixon, Will Murray tries; Eade 4 con)
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