Southland 16 Northland 12
Southland sent long-time halfback Jimmy Cowan out on the right note with a victory over Northland in their ITM Cup clash at Rugby Park Stadium in Invercargill last night.
Cowan, one of only two New Zealanders alongside Tana Umaga to have registered a century of appearances for his province and Super Rugby franchise, as well as 50 tests for the All Blacks, is leaving the country this week to link with English side Gloucester.
It was by no means a pretty performance, but it was a valuable win for the Stags that was laid on via the boot of first-five Scott Eade and a lone first-half try to hard-working lock Josh Bekhuis.
With his side down 13-0, Northland coach Adriaan Ferris rung the changes at halftime as he looked to inject some life in to his troops as the weather progressively got worse in the deep south.
First-five Ash Moeke sparked the Taniwha as he scored his team's first try and set up their second with a well-placed crossfield kick that resulted in replacement hooker Tone Kopelani finding the chalk.
They remained behind 13-12 on the scoreboard. Although they continued to threaten, Eade was able to add another three points to Southland's tally just after the 60-minute mark, which gave them a vital buffer.
Southland's win took them to 15 Championship points and they remain in the hunt for a semifinal spot as they sit in fifth place, while Northland moved to third after they claimed a bonus point for a close loss.
Southland 16 (Josh Bekhuis try; Scott Eade 3 pen, con)
Northland 12 (Ash Moeke, Tone Kopelani tries; Moeke con) HT: 13-0