Canterbury shake off the Stags

Date published: October 10 2015

Canterbury finished the ITM Cup regular-season with a nine wins from ten record after they defeated Southland 39-20 in Christchurch on Saturday.

It has been an impressive campaign from arguably one of the weakest Canterbury sides in recent memory but they have got stronger with each game.

They will now face Taranaki in next week's semi-finals with a final clash against either Tasman or Auckland awaiting them should they win that.

Centre Ryan Crotty opened the scoring for Canterbury on 18 minutes before wing Johnny McNicholl crossed to make it 20-0 with two Richie Mo'unga penalties.

Southland hit back though through Dillan Halaholo and Mike Molloy before the break to make it 20-17 as the game suddenly became a real contest.

But after the turnaround two tries from Rob Thompson and one from Tom Sanders helped Canterbury avoid ending the season on a negative as they go into next week's home semi-final fixture full of confidence. The Stags meanwhile, finish the ITM Cup Championship season in fifth position.

The scorers:

For Canterbury:
Tries: Crotty, McNicholl, Thompson 2, Sanders
Con: Mo'unga 4
Pen: Mo'unga 2

For Southland:
Tries: Halaholo, Molloy
Con: Sopoaga 2
Pen: Sopoaga 2

Canterbury: 15 Cameron McIntyre, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Rob Thompson, 11 Milford Keresoma, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Mitchell Drummond, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Tom Sanders, 6 Reed Prinsep, 5 Dominic Bird, 4 Ben Matwijow, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Dan Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Joshua Manning, 20 Mitchell Dunshea, 21 Jack Stratton, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Marshall Suckling.

Southland: 15 Tauasosi Tuimavave, 14 Junior Ngaluafe, 13 Kieran Moffat, 12 James Schrader, 11 Mike Molloy, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Liam Howley, 8 Bill Fukofuka, 7 Tim Boys, 6 Phil Halder, 5 Michael Stewart, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Guy Millar, 2 Dillan Halaholo, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 David Hall, 17 Reuben Northover, 18 Morgan Mitchell, 19 Joel Everson, 20 Mike McKee, 21 Scott Eade, 22 Ash Moeke, 23 Willis Halaholo.

Referee: Ben O'Keeffe