The under-16 South Canterbury rugby team let a fifth place finish at their South Island rugby tournament slip away in the last 10 minutes after leading for most of the game against Otago Country in Dunedin on Saturday.
Failing to clear the ball on their line and an infringement at a ruck resulted in a late try and penalty, gifting the Otago Country side an 18-16 win.
Both sides scored two tries and two penalties, the final difference being one conversion.
It was a game South Canterbury should have won as they certainly played with more structure and skill than their hard working southern opponents.
It was a disappointing end for South Canterbury who won half their games, a percentage that could easily have been higher.
The forwards continued to secure the ball and get over the advantage line which provided the backs with clean ball and space.
Liam Cosgrove was dominant in the lineout while Caleb Lightfoot, Chris McCarthy and Luke Cody were strong on defence.
Robert Sutcliff made his presence felt with some good runs when he came on part way through the game.
Matt McKenzie, at first-five eighth, had a good game with raking touch finders and two successful long- range penalties. Taylor Worthington-Thin had a solid game at wing, as did Marc Rooney at fullback.
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