Jason Emery's try secures Manawatu win

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Saturday, September 30, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Not having won in Invercargill since 2009, Manawatu almost succumbed to the desperation of a home team looking for its first win of the season but Emery's 74th minute mid-field break, off a short pass from replacement halfback Kayne Hammington proved the difference.

He stepped home fullback Ryan Tongia and made light of the tackle effort of Scott Eade to score a bonus point try for Manawatu.

Southland could not have endured a worse start. A clearing kick from the kick-off maul was charged down and it took halfback Jay Renton to race across and take the ball into touch at the corner.

But from the lineout the ball was mauled and hooker Tom Crozier dropped over the line for a try 47seconds after the start.

Manawatu then demonstrated from the re-start that they wanted to make good use of the perfect conditions to run the ball at every opportunity and with their confidence catching Southland off-guard, they ran the ball from their own goal-line. The continuity between backs and loose forwards saw flankers Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Antonio Kiri Kiri and No.8 Harrison Brewer involved in setting up wing Newton Tudreu for a 60m run to the line.

That was as good as it got for the remainder of the half and it was only Southland's preponderance for handling errors that denied them the chance to pour on their own pressure. They had 70 percent of territory in the first half but were unable to make the best use of it.

Finally, lock Manaaki Selby-Ricket produced some good news for the home side when their phase play at several pick and goes out from the goal-line saw him put his telegraphic arm out over the line to score.

The early clarity dissipated from Manawatu's game until the 54th minute when a well-executed move from a lineout saw left wing Ambrose Curtis in the line to get through the gap and staying inside him was replacement Hammington whose reward was the in-pass and try.

Southland ushered in their bench as well and when lively second five-eighths Matthew Johnson breached the Manawatu line it got some valuable momentum going and after centre Neria Fomai took the ball up, replacement Bill Fukofuka put his explosive qualities to the test in taking defenders with him as he corkscrewed his way over the line for a 60th minute try.

Scorers: Southland 20 (Manaaki Selby-Ricket, Bill Fukofuka tries; Scott Eade 2 con, 2 pen) Manawatu 25 (Tom Crozier, Newton Tudreu, Kayne Hammington, Jason Emery tries; Jade Te Rure pen; Otere Black con). HT: 7-10