Taranaki picked up their first victory of the ITM Cup season on Saturday after they edged out Southland 15-14 at Rugby Park in Invercargill.
Taranaki picked up their first win of the ITM Cup year on Saturday after they edged out Southland 15-14.
The 'Naki were never behind on the scoreboard in the Invercargill fixture but it was far from plain sailing at the southern most tip of New Zealand.
Jackson Ormond and Isaia Tuifua were the away side's try-scorers while Tim Cornforth replied for the Stags in an error-strewn domestic clash.
It took 28 minutes to break the deadlock at Rugby Park when Andre Taylor sent over three points, with Stags ten Scott Eade replying soon after.
But with five minutes remaining of the half, the 'Naki struck through Ormond, who finished off good work from Rhys Marshall and Jarrad Hoeta.
Southland took just two minutes to close the gap after the break when Eade sent over his second penalty, making it 8-6 as the home support sensed their side had the momentum.
But on 44 minutes came 60 seconds of chaos as first Tuifua's opportunistic score was followed up by Cornforth going over following a restart mistake from Seta Tamanivalu.
That made it 15-11 to Taranaki who managed to hold on for four vital points despite Southland pushing hard after Marty McKenzie had cut the lead back to a single point.
Pen: Eade 2, McKenzie
Tries: Ormond, Tuifua
Southland: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Gareth Williams-Spiers, 13 Bryan Milne, 12 Cardiff Vaega, 11 Tim Cornforth, 10 Scott Eade, 9 Tayler Adams, 8 Elliot Dixon, 7 Tim Boys, 6 John Hardie, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Josh Bekhuis, 3 Nicolas Barrett, 2 David Hall, 1 Jamie Mackintosh.
Replacements: 16 Talemaitoga Tuapati, 17 Tukiterangi Raimona, 18 Hale T-Pole, 19 Naulia Dawai, 20 Nemia Kenatale, 21 Willis Halaholo, 22 Marty McKenzie.
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Jackson Ormond, 13 Andre Taylor, 12 Isaia Tuifua, 11 Waisake Naholo, 10 Daniel Brooks, 9 Chris Smylie, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Berny Hall, 6 Kane Barrett, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Shane Cleaver, 2 Rhys Marshall, 1 Carl Carmichael.
Replacements: 16 Timo Tutavaha, 17 Sione Lea, 18 Nemia Soqeta, 19 Mitchell Crosswell, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Rick McKenna, 22 Seta Tamanivalu.
Referee: Shane McDermott