MANAWATUhave provided their semifinal hopes with a boost through a bonus point 25-20 win - but they had to fend off a spirited Southland outfit to do it.
Manawatu headed into the Mitre 10 Cup Championship fixture at short odds to topple a Southland team who hadn’t posted a competition point through their first seven games in 2017.
The odds shortened further after a blistering opening few minutes before Southland found their grove and provided their fans in Invercargill at Rugby Park with hope.
Remarkably for the second game in a row Southland conceded two tries in the first three minutes of the fixture.
It was Tasman last Sunday who inflicted the pain and it was Manawatu hooker Tom Crozier who started it in this particular game.
Inside the first minute Southland halfback Jay Renton had a