Southern secures Watters Cup win
Southern has got their hands on the Mid Canterbury Rugby Union’s biggest prize, and this time around they don’t have to share it.
The Watters Cup was a repeat of last year’s final between Southern and Rakaia, a repeat of last year’s controversial draw was unlikely after a rule change allowed for 10 minutes of extra time.
Southern – playing on their home turf at Mayfield Showgrounds, after heavy rain deemed the Ashburton Showgrounds unplayable, forcing the game to be moved and delayed by a day – edged ahead on the second half, after being down at the break, and held on for a 35-21 win.
Beaten Combined Country Cup finalists Rakaia went up 6-0 thanks to two penalties to Tom Hanham-Carter, before Southern scored a try against the run of play to wing Corey Howell. A Richard Fridd penalty gave Southern the lead, before Seta Koroitamana snatched it back with a try just before the break, to give Rakaia an 11-8 lead.
Southern produced the perfect start to the second half, with a Gideon Lambrechts try giving them the lead back, and they extended their lead with a try to Jon Dampney.
Realising their second chance at silverware was also slipping away, Rakaia struck back and Willie McGoon looked over in the corner, but was ruled to have been in touch. Southern hit back with their fourth try and while Koroitamana got one back for Rakaia, time was running out. A Hanham-Carter penalty reduced the gap to six, 27-21, putting Rakaia within a converted try but when Southern was awarded a penalty right in front with time almost up, the result was decided. .