Southland were pushed hard in the second half, but thank to the steady boot of flyhalf James Wilson they were able to retain the Ranfurly Shield by beating Counties-Manukau 22-14 in Invercargill on Friday.
The Southland forward pack were outstanding in the wet conditions, and with Wilson kicking six out of his seven shots at goal the visitors dreams of lifting the Shield for the first time were destroyed.
Southland's only try came through hard-working lock Josh Bekhuis who crashed over just before the break, and although Counties-Manukau did finally manage to cross the whitewash through replacement hooker Grant Henson in the final minutes it was not enough and the Shield stayed in the hands of Southland skipper Jamie Mackintosh.
Waikato put in an impressive performance in difficult conditions to secure a bonus-point victory and refuse Tasman a try in their comprehensive 35-6 win in Hamilton on Friday.
The hosts led 13-6 at half-time and Tasman failed to score a single point after the break as Waikato ran in three tries to take a full haul of five points from the match while their opponents remain rooted to the bottom of the log having failed to register a single point thus far this season.
Tasman tackled hard but in the end they could not restrain the waves of attacks by Waikato who simply had too much class for them and the visitors were left wondering where their first log points of the season are going to come from.
Southland 22-14 coutnies-Manukau
Con: Wilson 1
Pens: Wilson 5
Pens: Lavea 2, Semple
Southland: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Glen Horton, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Matt Saunders, 11 Tim Cornforth, 10 James Wilson, 9 Scott Cowan, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Tim Boys, 6 John Hardie, 5 Joe Tuineau, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Chris King, 2 Jason Rutledge, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (captain).
Replacements: 16 David Hall, 17 Nick Barrett, 18 Ben Nally, 19 Kaleni Taituli, 20 Sonny Rangitohereri, 21 Scott Eade, 22 James Lew, 23 Michael Peterson.
Counties-Manukau: 15 Sherwin Stowers, 14 Ahsee Tuala, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Reynold Lee-Lo, 11 Bundee Aki, 10 Tasesa Lavea, 9 Samisoni Fisilau, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 DJ Forbes, 6 Taiasina Tuifua, 5 Jamie Chipman (captain), 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Jeremiah Fatialofa, 2 Mark Price, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: 16 Grant Henson, 17 Matt Talaese, 18 Adam Cathcart, 19 Mark Selwyn, 20 David Bason, 21 James Semple, 22 Tyrone Lefau, 23 Ihipa Thompson.
Referee: Glen Jackson
Waikato 36-6 Tasman
Tries: Mikkelson, O'Donnell, Grice, Tauroa
Cons: Renata 3
Pens: Renata 3
Pens: Goodman 2
Waikato: 15 Tim Mikkelson, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Save Tokula, 12 Rena Schuster, 11 Declan O'Donnell, 10 Trent Renata, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Alex Bradley, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Matt Vant Leven, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Chris Middleton, 3 Ben May, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Marcel Cummings-Toone, 17 Nathan White, 18 Jack Lam, 19 Rory Grice, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Henry Speight, 23 Ted Tauroa.
Tasman: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Robbie Malneek, 13 Jack Umaga, 12 Andrew Goodman (captain), 11 Mitchell Scott, 10 James Marshall, 9 Steve Alfeld, 8 Mark Bright, 7 Shane Christie, 6 Liam Squire, 5 Pablo Heuete, 4 Filipo Levi, 3 James Hadfield, 2 Quentin MacDonald, 1 Sam Prattley.
Replacements: 16 Francis Smith, 17 Craig Moore, 18 Riki Hoeata, 19 Jonathon Poff, 20 Shawn Begg, 21 Kieron Fonotia, 22 Lucky Mulipola, 23 Fai Mika.
Referee: Richard Kelly
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