Click here to Watch Southland v Hawkes Bay Live Thursday 15th September 07:35 GMT
There are just three sides left in the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup, who have yet to taste victory in 2016. Two of those sides will face each other on Thursday at the Invercargill Stadium, when the Southland Stags host the Hawkes Bay Magpies. The Stags are currently rooted to the bottom of the Championship table, while the Magpies are in the same position in the Premier Division. After the excitement of last season's promotion campaign, the Magpies have found the going extremely tough going over the early rounds of the Premiership.
They have played and lost all five fixtures to date, and have collected just three bonus points, leaving them six points adrift of their nearest rivals, Tasman. Only Northland have conceded more than the 27 that have been scored against the Magpies. Last weekend they hit rock bottom, at least they will be hoping that things get no worse, as they suffered a crushing 7-63 defeat to Canterbury in Christchurch. Southland have picked up two points so far in 2016, both of which came in the 31-34 defeat to Manawatu. While statistics can often lie, the worst attack in the Championship with just seven tries, and second worst defence having conceded 18 tries in four games, can easily explain their current predicament.
Posted: 4th October 2015
Southland can still squeeze into the post-season Championship play-off, if they win their final two regular season matches, and other results go their way. That sounds like quite a long shot, and indeed it is a most unlikely outcome.
On Sunday, the Southland face table topping Hawkes Bay Magpies, who have suffered just one defeat during 2015, and hold a three point advantage over their nearest rival, the Wellington Lions, with whom they drew 22-22 at the beginning of Week 8 at the Westpac Stadium, as they seek the vital top spot finish, that will guarantee home advantage through the play-offs. Even if the Stags cause a mighty upset and defeat the Magpies, they still have to travel to Premiership Canterbury in the final week of the season. All the while they would also require the Bay of Plenty to be beaten in their final two fixtures.
The more likely result on Sunday at Rugby Park in Invercargill, is that the visitors will inflict a sixth defeat of the season on the Stags, and set themselves up for a Ranfurly Shield/ITM Cup double header to close the regular season, against Waikato, who are struggling desperately to avoid relegation from the Premiership.
Posted: 3rd October 2013
The Southland verses Hawkes Bay match may be a dress rehearsal for the play-offs, which both seem destined to contest. In their last outing, Southland produced an astonishing come back, for the third week in a row, this time to overcome Otago in Dunedin, by 38-32. This following on their come from behind victories over Bay of Plenty and North Harbour. While these recent fixtures won't have done much for the nerves of their supporters, these are the very type of matches that will stand the team in good stead in the forthcoming play-off series, when sides will be tested to prove their ability to play under the most intense pressure.
The Hawkes bay match should see hooker, David Hall, join the list of players that have made 100 appearances for the stags, joining Mackintosh, who made his 100th appearance against Otago. Hawkes Bay on the other hand will go into the game on the back of a comfortable 55-10 victory in Napier. A victory that keeps them in touch with Tasman at the top of the Championship, alongside this week's opponents Southland. Both sides will be keen to chase victory, in order to secure the most advantageous draw possible in the play-offs.
Tags: Invercargill Stadium
, Hawkes Bay
, Rugby Park
, ITM Cup