Southland Stags on track after an 0-4 start

DAVID LONG
Last updated 05:00 30/09/2012
Jamie Mackintosh
ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ
CAMPAIGN RESURRECTED: After four losses to start the NPC, Jamie Mackintosh and the Southland Stags have reeled off three straight wins to be the in Championship semifinal hunt.

Relevant offers

Provincial

Taranaki Rugby record massive surplus Seven bonus-point in the opening round of Combined Country Cup rugby Neck strength could influence impact of concussions, Dunedin study finds Wellington is getting a Lions fan zone, but live match screenings not confirmed Glen Gregory returns to rugby to coach after battling back from concussion hell Former NRL player Tupou Sopoaga joins Highlanders as injury cover Former NRL player Tupou Sopoaga to play rugby in Southland in 2017 Crowley to replace Hammett as Tasman's new assistant NPC rugby coach New Zealand Rugby chief Neil Sorensen opens up to deliver strong message on mental health New Zealand provincial rugby could be a winner in new global rugby calendar

When Southland lost their first four games of the season it looked like there would be zero chance of the Stags going back up to the Premiership at the first attempt.

But with three successive wins they're in the hunt for a place in the Championship semifinals and their captain, Jamie Mackintosh, believes they're a side on the rise.

Today they play Canterbury in Christchurch, trying to repeat their pre-season win over Tabai Matson's side.

“The first two games for us were a bit of a licking; Counties taught us a lesson and then so did Wellington,” Mackintosh said.

“But we had a really big performance against Otago. We played well in the first half, got over the tryline four times and that was a game that was really tough, because we did enough to win but didn't . . . Then the same against Tasman, we played well enough to win the game again.” But then came Southland's wins over Hawke's Bay, North Harbour and Northland.

“For the young guys in the team, to get a few wins really lifts their confidence and belief in what we're doing.

“But with the nature of the competition and there only being seven teams in the Championship, four wins might put you into the semis.

“We have got Canterbury, Northland and Bay of Plenty to go and if we can notch up a couple more wins we'll be right up there and with the quality of players in our side we'll be competitive if we do get into the playoffs.”

But in the Championship playoffs, it may be one thing to make it, but it's another to avoid Counties Manukau in the semifinal.

“Definitely, I think they're playing a great brand of rugby,” Mackintosh said.

GAME ON

Canterbury v Southland: Christchurch, 2.35pm (SS1)

Ad Feedback

- Sunday Star Times

Special offers
Opinion poll

What did you make of this year's ITM Cup?

It was as good a season as I can remember.

It was great to see the smaller provinces perform well.

I caught the odd game here and there.

Sorry, it was an utter snore-fest.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content