THE Southland Rams started their South Island premier rugby league campaign with a 26-22 loss to the Otago Whalers in Invercargill last Saturday.
The Otago and Southland players are no strangers to each other after meeting during the combined Otago/Southland competition earlier in the season.
Southland opened the scoring with a try just 10 minutes into the game.
The Whalers were hot on their tail and punched through with a try five minutes later.
Otago went on to score two more tries in the first half to lead the Rams 14-6 at the break.
Southland had to play catch-up in the second half and were within striking distance at 26-22 down late in the game.
However, referee Mike Rangihaka blew full-time and Southland had to settle for the four-point loss.
For the Whalers, Teriapii Taia, Willie Time, Owen Draper, Jong Hoon Lee and Marcel Taani all scored tries.
For the Rams, Ramera Chambers, Daniel Low, Tuki Hiko and Silvanus Raimona all scored.
The Rams have little time to reflect on the loss as they now prepare to take on the West Coast Chargers in Greymouth this weekend.
– Dave Loudon, Southern Rugby League