Click here to Watch Northland v Southland Live Saturday 22nd August 05:35 GMT
The Southland Stags make the long journey to Whangarei to take on Northland on Saturday Evening in Round 2 of the 2015 ITM Cup. Both sides will be regretting Northland's defeat in Round 1 in Napier against Hawke's Bay. That match doubled as a Ranfurly Shield challenge, and if Northland had managed to wrest the trophy away from their hosts, Southland would have been challenging them for the Log o' Wood this weekend.
The Stags opened their own campaign with a thrilling 23-23 draw against visiting Auckland. A topsy turvy encounter saw the Blue and Whites take a 16-3 lead during the first half, only for the Stags to score 20 unanswered points. Even after Auckland struck back to level the scores, both sides had penalty kicks that could have won the match.
Southland will have Lima Sopoaga back from All Blacks duty for Saturday's match. Northland will need to get out of the blocks quicker on Saturday, than they did in their Shield challenge, when they trailed 27-3 at half-time, the match over as a contest. They did improve defensively in the second period, to restrict the final score to 39-10 in favour of the Bay. A margin that was sufficiently large to leave then at the bottom of the Championship table.
, ITM Cup
, Lima Sopoaga