Southland defeated Canterbury 22-19 to win back the Ranfurly Shield for the second time in three years on Saturday.
Southland defeated Canterbury 22-19 to win back the Ranfurly Shield for the second time in three years in a thrilling ITM Cup clash on Saturday.
The Stags, who took the Log o'Wood off Canterbury in 2009 then lost it last year, regained the prized trophy thanks to a match-winning drop-goal by James Wilson.
With less than four minutes remaining and the scores tied 19-19, the Southland pivot held his nerve to send the ball between the uprights.
Even though Southland coughed up two tries in the first half and went into the half-time sheds trailing 16-9, the southerners raised the ante in the second half.
Scrum-half Scott Cowan leveled the scores (16-16) in the final quarter before Wilson and opposite number Tom Taylor traded penalties to tie the game up at 19-19. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Southland hooker Jason Rutledge was thrilled to be taking thh Ranfurly Shield back to the deep south.
“We've probably been fortunate to have been given shield challenges where there have been other teams who haven't had that advantage,” he said.
“We were rapt to get another challenge and to take it away is awesome.
“Man-to-man we were pretty happy with how our squad compared to theirs and we thought we had a chance.
” It means a lot to us and as Jamie [Mackintosh] said afterwards it has been tough times for us in the last six months with people bagging us and stuff and we hadn't won for eight games so this is really great for us.”
Tries: Osborne, Maitland
Pens: Taylor 3
Pens: Wilson 4
Canterbury: 15 Sean Maitland, 14 Telusa Veainu, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Tom Taylor, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 George Whitelock (c), 5 Luke Romano, 4 Ash Parker, 3 Andrew Olorenshaw, 2 Paul Ngauamo, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Nepo Laulala, 18 Reuben Thorne, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Mark Swanepoel, 21 Tyler Bleyendaal, 22 Johnny McNicholl, 23 Sam Cottam.
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 (c).
Replacements: 16 David Hall, 17 Nick Barrett, 18 Ben Nally, 19 Kaleni Taituli, 20 Sonny Rangitohereri, 21 Scott Eade, 22 James Lew or Tony Koonwaiyou, 23 Michael Peterson.
Referee: Jonathan White