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Southland Secure Second Carisbrook Win In Two Years

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Southland Secure Second Carisbrook Win In Two Years

Wellington, Aug 7 NZPA - Another chapter in the long history of deep south rugby rivalry was written tonight when Southland beat Otago 26-19 in an Air NZ Cup match in Dunedin.

In the 230th meeting between the two provinces since 1887, Southland had to survive a hectic last 10 minutes but hung on to secure their second win in as many years over Otago at Carisbrook.

Southland first five-eighth Robbie Robinson backed up his impressive showing in last week's 16-6 win over Waikato, mixing intelligent tactical kicking with sound defence and moving the ball well as Southland made all the running early on.

Otago gradually gained momentum, playing a territory game with copious kicking into a stiff breeze and putting constant pressure on the Southland lineout.

But fierce defence from both teams meant neither try line was really threatened, and penalties were traded at regular intervals until an Otago lapse of discipline right on the halftime whistle gave Robinson a chance out in front.

The poised 19-year-old calmly slotted the penalty to put Southland ahead 9-6 at the break, a lead which was quickly extended two minutes into the second spell.

A slashing run from second five-eighth Jason Kawau put the Otago defence on the back foot. Loose forward Tim Boys continued the momentum, and quick ball from the breakdown gave Robinson an extra second or two to find centre Kenny Lynn to score.

Giant lock Josh Bekhuis looked to have put the game beyond Otago's reach at the 60-minute mark when Southland's numbers to the breakdown put them on the front foot. Otago's defence was stretched too wide, and Bekhuis showed impressive power to score and put Southland ahead 23-12.

However, Warriors rugby league convert Ryan Shortland, in his first full game for Otago, put them back in touch with a well-taken try 10 minutes from the final whistle.

Shortland was rewarded for a promising performance featuring sound positional play and solid defence on the wing when the ball was moved at pace to him and he dotted down in the corner. Noakes converted and Southland's useful lead had been whittled back to just six.

Robinson relieved the pressure somewhat three minutes later with a penalty, but Southland still had to withstand a spirited Otago in the closing minutes.

The result reversed the result of last year's match, when Noakes calmly slotted a last-minute 47-metre penalty to secure a 25-23 win in Invercargill.

The previous year, Southland had ended a 30-year winless drought with a 26-20 win over Otago in Dunedin.


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