The Stags had its second loss of the season after a defeat of 31-11 to Bay Of Plenty (BOP) in Invercargill on Sunday afternoon.
Southland hung in the contest for as long as possible but the Bay scored two tries in the last 12 minutes to deny the Stags a bonus point.
For the second week in a row, Southland struggled to turn territory and possession into points, scoring just one try.
BOP’s debutant wing, Onisi Ratave, was the standout player in the first half and set up a try to openside Mitch Karpik after 20 minutes.
BOP kicked a penalty goal just before half-time to make it 10-nil. Despite the low score, it was an entertaining first half of rugby for the crowd of 3000.
Seven minutes into the second half, Stags’ centre Isaac Te Tamaki threw a double-skip pass to find Charles Alaimalo, who scored in the corner.
Ten minutes later, BOP restored the margin when Sean Wainui easily got around his man to score.
With 12 minutes remaining, the powerful Ratave raced down the wing and bumped off Marty Banks to score.
In the closing minutes, BOP blindside Nikora Broughton burst through the line to score with ease. Broughton had a great game; affecting turnovers and making great tackles.
The Stags did some good stuff but their individual skills were not up to the required standard.
Captain Tony Lamborn was Southland’s best, with openside flanker Matt James not far behind. Former Stags lock Manaaki Selby-Ricket was one of the visitors’ best.
In other representative fixtures last weekend, Southland Town beat Southland Country 40-27 in Mossburn. Town was always in control of this match and led 40-7 at one stage.
The Southland women’s team beat Otago Development team 19-12 after losing to the same team 17-10 the weekend before.
The Southland under-19 team lost 13-12 to North Otago.