Daniel Richardson

Daniel Richardson is a Wellington-based sports journalist for NZME. News Service.

ITM Cup: Southland topple Harbour

Jordan Manihera of North Harbour is tackled during the round two ITM Cup match between North Harbour and Southland. Photo / Getty Images
Jordan Manihera of North Harbour is tackled during the round two ITM Cup match between North Harbour and Southland. Photo / Getty Images

It's two games and two wins for Southland.

After easing past Bay of Plenty last week, the Stags kept their ITM Cup campaign rolling with a 25-21 victory over North Harbour in Albany tonight.

It was Harbour's second loss of the season after they fell to Otago last week and their basic skills were inconsistent, which allowed Southland, who have employed an attacking approach this year, to pounce.

With Lima Sopoaga directing traffic from five-eighth and the hot-stepping Willis Halaholo causing havoc in the backline, Southland were good for their win.

As they did last week, Harbour started quickly and had two tries on the board within the first half as they opened up an early lead.

But they're their own worst enemy at times and simple mistakes plagued the home side as Sopoaga's boot helped Southland edge their way back in to the contest, while Halaholo's try just before the split gave the Stags a 16-12 lead at the break.

The scrums were messy throughout the evening but Southland were anchored by veteran prop Jamie Mackintosh, while loose forward Elliot Dixon was industrious.

Harbour went back in front during the second spell as Matt McGahan kicked a couple of penalties, while new addition Robbie Robinson added a drop goal.

But Southland can be pleased that they showed composure throughout most of the evening and they never panicked as Sopoaga led them to victory with three second-half penalties.

Harbour, who are showing signs of improvement under new coach Steve Jackson, could have stolen the game in the dying stages with a late try but they lost the ball and were forced to settle for a bonus point.

Both sides now have nine days off before they play again. Southland will host Otago in the southern derby in Invercargill on August 30, while Harbour will meet Waikato in Albany on the same day.

Southland 25 (Willis Halaholo try; Lima Sopoaga 6 pen, con)
North Harbour 21 (Matt McGahan, Nafi Tuitavake tries; McGahan 2 pen, con, Robbie Robinson drop goal)
Halftime: 16-12

- APNZ

Stats provided by

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 29 Nov 2014 20:50:47 Processing Time: 408ms