Southland completed their first successful defence of the Ranfurly Shield in 2011 with a 22-14 win over Counties-Manukau in Invercargill on Friday.
The Stags' second win of the season lifts them into mid-table of the ITM Cup Premiership having upset Canterbury last weekend.
James Wilson once again played an influential role, landing six of his sevens attempts at goal for a personal haul of 17 points.
A try from lock Josh Bekhuis (with a little help from the TMO) just before the break gave the hosts a 13-6 lead at half-time and a huge defensive effort in the second period saw Jamie Mackintosh and co. hang on for a well-deserved victory.
Counties struggled to adapt to the wet conditions and despite applying relentless pressure in the second half, the visitors came off second best against a hard-working Southland pack.
Tasesa Lavea had given Counties the early lead from the kicking before Bekhuis drove over for a controversial try after a five metre scrum.
Replacement hooker Grant Henson crashed over for the Steelers seven minutes from time but it was too little too late for the second-division side.
Pens: Wilson 2
For Counties Manukau:
Pens: Lavea 2, Semple
Southland: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Glen Horton/Kade Poki, 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 Nic Barrett, 2 David Hall, 1 Jamie Mackintosh (c).
Replacements: 16 Jason Rutledge, 17 Chris King, 18 Ben Nally, 19 Kaleni Taetuli, 20 Sonny Rangitoheriri, 21 Scott Eade, 22 Tony Koonwaiyou, 23 Micheal Peterson.
Counties Manukau: 15 Ahsee Tuala, 14 Tyrone Lefau, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Niva Ta'auso, 11 Sherwin Stowers, 10 Tasesa Lavea, 9 Samisoni Fisilau, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 DJ Forbes, 6 Adam Cathcart, 5 Jamie Chipman (c), 4 Ronald Raaymakers, 3 Jeremiah Fatialofa, 2 Mark Price, 1 Simon Lemalu.
Replacements: Mark Selwyn, Matt Talaese, Grant Henson, David Bason, James Semple, Reynold Lee-Lo, Ihipa Thompson.