THE Southland under-19 team will take on Northland in what effectively is a Michael Jones Cup quarter-final game at the national tournament in Taupo on Sunday.
During the past month Southland has struggled in the South Island qualifying fixtures, losing 44-7 to Tasman, 86-8 to Canterbury and 40-22 to Otago last Sunday.
However, there was enough shown against Otago to suggest if the Daryl Thompson-coached team plays to its potential it could give the Michael Jones Cup a shake.
The Michael Jones Cup is made up of the bottom eight seeded teams at the tournament in Taupo. The top eight teams play off for the Graham Mourie Cup.
All 14 Mitre 10 Cup unions take part in the tournament and are joined by Auckland B and a team made up of players from Heartland unions to take the number of teams to 16.
After qualifying games, Southland has been seeded fourth in the four-team South Island section and will now take on Northland, the third-ranked team from the Blues region.
A victory on Sunday would progress Southland to a Michael Jones Cup semi-final next Wednesday. Lose on Sunday and Southland would then enter the playoff for 13th at the tournament.
The final round of games will be played the following Saturday.
Last year Southland progressed to the Michael Jones Cup final and was pipped 33-31 by Counties.