Waikato's poor early-season ITM Cup form continued when they suffered a 20-16 defeat to Southland in Invercargill on Friday.
Waikato's poor early-season form continued when they suffered a 20-16 defeat to Southland in Invercargill.
The win is a morale-boosting one for the Stags after they suffered defeats to Tasman, Northland and Taranaki in previous matches, while Waikato are now winless since their Ranfurly Shield victory over Northland at the start of the campaign.
The Mooloo men raced into a 9-0 lead by the 25th minute thanks to three Trent Renata penalties.
Southland struck back with a try by Cardiff Vaega after a charge down of a Waikato clearance kick.
Marty McKenzie converted, and added a penalty to give the hosts a 10-9 advantage at half-time.
Southland went further in the lead through a Josh Bekhuis try from close quarters in the 52 minute. McKenzie added the extras but Waikato struck back when Semisi Masirewa scored from an attacking scrum ten minutes before the end.
Renata converted but replacement fly-half Scott Eade sealed the victory for Southland with another three-pointer five minutes before the end.
Tries: Vaega, Bekhuis
Con: McKenzie 2
Pen: McKenzie, Eade
Pen: Renata 3
Southland: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Bryan Milne, 13 Cardiff Vaega, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Tim Cornforth, 10 Marty Mckenzie, 9 Tayler Adams, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Tim Boys, 6 John Hardie, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Nick Barrett, 2 David Hall, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (capt).
Replacements: 16 Talemaitoga Tuapati, 17 Tukiterangi Raimona, 18 Hale T-Pole, 19 Naulia Dawai, 20 Nemia Kenatale, 21 Gareth William-Spiers, 22 Scott Eade.
Waikato: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Tim Mikkelson, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Joe Perawiti, 11 Save Tokula, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Brad Weber/Kylem O'Donnell, 8 Adam Burn, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Rory Grice, 5 Sam Kilgour, 4 Brian Alainu'uese, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacments: 16 Vance Elliott, 17 Paul Alo-Emile, 18 Nick Ross, 19 Jono Armstrong, 20 Kylem O'Donnell/Brad Weber, 21 Sam Christie, 22 Semisi Masirewa.
Referee: Matt O'Brien (Australia)