Stags aim to make semis

Marty Banks, of Southland, kicks at goal during the round five Bunnings NPC match between Southland and Manawatu at Rugby Park Stadium, in Invercargill, on October 10. Photo: Joe Allison/Getty Images

THE Southland Stags are looking forward to their next three weeks of rugby, starting with a non-competition game in Wellington this Saturday.

A good performance will set the Stags up for the important Championship games against Northland at home and Taranaki away.

Southland, Northland and Otago are all still in contention for the last two spots in the Championship semi-finals. Taranaki and Manawatu are already assured of their place in the finals.

The Stags forward pack has had several injuries this season and required fresh recruits. Southland club rugby fans were pleased to hear of the latest three new forwards who have joined the team for the rest of the season Liam Udy-Johns, of Marist, and Star’s Jordan Stewart.

The trio brings a mixture of experience to the squad, with prop Stoddart bringing up several seasons with the Stags already and loose forward Stewart a player with first-class experience and a leader within the Star Rugby Club.

Udy-Johns, of Hawke’s Bay, joined Marist this season with a hope of making the Southland setup.

Stewart’s clubmate Chris Apoua has been one of the Stags’ standouts during their five games.

The tight-head prop was also in the Highlanders reserve squad this year, his impressive form has him well-placed to be rewarded with a Super Rugby contract.