Canterbury reclaims Ranfurly Shield
Saturday, October 9, 2010 Sportal.co.nz Getty Images
The defence from both sides was brutal with players giving no thought to their own safety as they threw themselves into rucks and tackles.
In the end it was the more clinical Cantabrians who made the most of their opportunities although it was Southland who enjoyed the greater territory and possession.
Canterbury led 16-13 at half-time as Colin Slade converted Telusa Veainu's try and chipped in with three penalties.
Robbie Robinson kept his side in the hunt with two penalties before converting Kane Thompson’s try just before the break.
But 10 points from Slade in the second half courtesy of a converted try and penalty took the Shield away from Southland who could only reply with a solitary penalty for Wilson.
The Stags dominated the opening 15 minutes as they recycled the ball superbly to give them the early momentum as Canterbury struggled to get into the game.
Robinson got the first points on the board with a penalty after an infringement at a scrum but Slade soon cancelled that out after Canterbury counter-attacked from a turnover and the Stags defence killed the ball at a ruck giving the All Black first-five a simple kick at goal.
The tide turned in favour of the visitors though when Veainu scored against the run of play in the 18th minute.
Despite Southland enjoying the bulk of the possession and territory by keeping ball in hand, James Wilson opted to put in a grubber kick only for it to come off the legs of Sonny Bill Williams, who gathered it and fired the pass inside to his winger who raced in by the posts.
Slade converted and slotted another two penalties as Canterbury began to string the phases together and put the Stags defence under pressure which led to Jimmy Cowan and Jamie Mackintosh infringing at the ruck.
But with 10 minutes of the first half to go and trailing 3-16, the Stags got their second wind.
Robinson kicked a second penalty and the home side were unlucky when loose forward John Hardie had a try disallowed in the corner after the television match official took an age to decide that Tony Koonwaiyou had put a foot in touch before releasing the ball to the flanker.
But on the stroke of half-time Kane Thompson barged his way over after the Stags were initially held up close to the line and the ball was spun out and Koonwaiyou slipped the pass to his No.8. Robinson added the extras to leave his side trailing 13-16 after a bruising 40 minutes.
It was a close as Southland got though as Slade took the game away from the home side with a converted try 10 minutes into the second spell.
A set-piece move from a line-out set up the first-five who showed a good turn of pace to get on the inside of Cowan and across the whitewash.
Wilson, who took over the kicking duties when Robinson was forced off after taking a boot to the chest, banged over another penalty in the 56th minute but that was the last score for the home side.
The Stags refused to give up though and launched wave after wave of attack. But the Canterbury defence stood firm - denying Wilson close to the line - and Slade put the final nail in the coffin with a penalty five minutes from time.
Southland 16 (Kane Thompson try; Robbie Robinson con, 2 pen; James Wilson pen) Canterbury 26 (Telusa Veainu, Colin Slade tries; Slade 2 con, 4 pen). HT: 16-13
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