Otago Daily Times

South­land’s plan of at­tack


- ADRIAN SECONI Sports · Rugby · Northland Region · Southland Region · Invercargill · Auckland Region · Kieran Lee · Saint Kentigern College · Bryn Gatland · New Zealand

SOUTH­LAND cen­tre Isaac Te Ta­maki has been part of the great shut­down in 2020.

The Stags de­fence has been al­most im­pen­e­tra­ble this sea­son.

The team has con­ceded an im­pos­si­bly low 82 points in six games and reg­is­tered a cou­ple of up­set wins.

The 25­year­old is pretty sat­is­fied with that as­pect of the game. It is the at­tack which has caused frus­tra­tion.

The Stags have net­ted just 73 points.

Still, South­land is a vastly im­proved side from those of the past few years. The 27­game los­ing streak is well be­hind the team.

But with im­proved re­sults come greater ex­pec­ta­tions.

‘‘Re­sults­wise this year has been bet­ter,’’ he said.

‘‘But as a team we are still frus­trated by the last few weeks be­cause we know we can be bet­ter than what we have been.’’

The 18­14 loss to North­land, in par­tic­u­lar, was an op­por­tu­nity missed.

‘‘We know how good this team

South­land: Rory van Vugt, Te­vita Latu, Isaac Te Ta­maki, Ray­mond Nu’u, Kieran Lee, Greg Dyer, Liam How­ley, Arese Po­liko, Tony Lam­born, Charles Alaimalo, Ray­mond Tatafu, Craig Smith, Christo­pher Apoua, Sabas­tian Si­ataga, Joseph Walsh. Re­serves: Gregory Pleas­ants­Tate, Niko Manaena, Vil­iami Tosi, Glenn Pre­ston, Ja­cob Cogh­lan, Lo­gan Crow­ley, Scott Eade, Jaye Thomp­son.

Tas­man: David Hav­ili (cap­tain), Mark Te­lea, Fe­tuli Paea, Alex Nankiv­ell, Le­ices­ter Fainga'anuku, Mitchell Hunt, Fin­lay Christie, Taina Fox­Mata­mua, Sione Hav­ili, Hugh Ren­ton, Isaac Ross, Te Ahi­waru Ciriki­dav­eta, Sam Matenga, An­drew Makalio, Ryan Coxon. Re­serve: Sam Moli, Isi Tu'un­gafasi, Isaac Salmon, Alex Ain­ley, An­ton Seg­ner, Louie Chap­man, Tim O'Mal­ley, Kieron Fono­tia.

can be and it is just so frus­trat­ing the fact that it hasn’t quite clicked as we want it to.

‘‘We’ve got to be more ruth­less with our ex­e­cu­tion [on at­tack] and just make sure we nail ev­ery op­por­tu­nity we get.’’

That op­por­tu­nity will come against Tas­man in Nel­son to­mor­row af­ter­noon.

It is a tough as­sign­ment. Tas­man is the de­fend­ing cham­pion and is on track to reach the premier­ship play­offs again, whereas South­land’s loss to Taranaki last week­end put a big dent in its cham­pi­onship play­off prospects.

‘‘They are a very, very classy out­fit. They have a lot of tal­ent

from one to 23 . . . so it is go­ing to be an in­cred­i­bly tough game for us.

‘‘But you can look at that as a pos­i­tive. To play rugby against some of the best play­ers is an awe­some op­por­tu­nity.

‘‘Those are the games you learn a lot from.’’

Te Ta­maki is from Hamil­ton and honed his skills while at Hamil­ton Boys’ High School.

He was part of the first XV side which won the na­tional top four tour­na­ment in 2013.

The team beat Saint Kentigern Col­lege 12­10. Bryn Gat­land was an­other no­table mem­ber of the Hamil­ton Boys’ side.

Fol­low­ing school, Te Ta­maki carved out a niche as a sev­ens player.

He was part of the New Zealand squad from 2015 to 2018.

But when he lost his spot in the sev­ens side he got an op­por­tu­nity to move South to In­ver­cargill and play for South­land.

Te Ta­maki linked up with Pi­rates Old Boys and forced his way into the Stags line­up as an out­side back.

Last sea­son he shifted into cen­tre when re­quired and this year he has made the spot his own.

He has paired up with Ray Nu’u in the mid­field to form a solid com­bi­na­tion.

The Stags have fresh­ened up their side with nu­mer­ous changes.

Coach Dale Ma­cLeod promised as much ear­lier in the week.

He is keen to test to depth of his squad and see how far the play­ers have come in the past year.

Tas­man lost 31­10 to Auck­land last week and will be mo­ti­vated to pro­duce an im­proved per­for­mance.

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