Mitre 10 Cup Preview: Southland 2020

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Coach: Dale MacLeod

Home ground: Rugby Park, Invercargill

2019: 7th in Championship

 

Talking points:

Despite finishing last in the Championship in 2019, Southland created one of the moments of the season when they thumped Counties Manukau 42-14 in round seven. What made the win so special was that it was the Stags first victory in three years. It snapped a 27-game losing run for the side and could act as the catalyst for the southern team to be a competitive force in 2020. With a new coach (Dale MacLeod) and captain (Tony Lamborn) on board, the Stags are looking to create a whole new legacy this season. In a pre-season game against Otago recently, the Stags racked up 43 points, including five second half tries, to show that they are going to not die wondering this season.

 

Player to watch:

There will be no one more integral to the Stags chances in 2020 than new skipper Tony Lamborn. The 29-year-old loose forward began his provincial career for North Otago in the Heartland Championship in 2012 and has since carved out a fine career both domestically and internationally. He has made 23 appearances for USA since his debut for the Eagles in 2016 and impressed for the Blues in Super Rugby this year, scoring their first try of the season. A strong ball carrier and combative warrior at the breakdown, Lamborn will lead the Stags from the front

 

Southland squad (* denotes new cap):

Ethan de Groot, Siate Tokolahi*, Joseph Walsh,Chris Apoua, Lio Tosi, Shaun Stodart, Niko Manaena*, Greg Pleasants-Tate, Talemaitoga Tuapati, Flynn Thomas, Michael McKee, Manaaki Selby-Rickit, Craig Smith, Raymond Tatafu, Tony Lamborn (Captain), Matthew James, Charles Alaimalo, Arese Poliko*, Glenn Preston*, Logan Crowley, Raniera Takarangi*, Liam Howley, Scott Eade (vice captain), Greg Dyer, Ray Nu’u, Isaac Te Tamaki, Joshua Moorby, Amanaki Nicole*, Rory van Vugt

 

Southland draw:

 

Southland v Hawke’s Bay

Sunday 13 September

4.35pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

 

Bay of Plenty v Southland

Saturday 19 September

7.05pm, Rotorua International Stadium

 

Southland v North Harbour

Saturday 26 September

4.35pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

 

Southland v Waikato

Sunday 4 October

2.05pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

 

Northland v Southland

Sunday 11 October

4.35pm, Semenoff Stadium

 

Southland v Taranaki

Saturday 17 October

7.05pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

 

Waikato v Taranaki

Sunday 25 October

4.35pm, FMG Stadium Waikato

 

Manawatu v Southland

Sunday 1 November

2.05pm, Manfield Park, Palmerston North

 

Southland v Otago

Friday 6 November

7.05pm, Rugby Park, Invercargill

 

Counties Manukau v Southland

Friday 13 October

7.05pm, Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe