Bay of Plenty 25 - 33 Southland, ITM Cup
Stags storm past Steamers late
September 18, 2013
Date/Time: Sep 18, 2013, 19:35 local, 07:35 GMT
Venue: Baypark Stadium, Mount Maunganui
Bay of Plenty 25 - 33 Southland
Half-time: 19 - 13
Tries: Sitauti
Cons: Ripia
Pens: Ripia 6
Tries: Dixon, McKenzie, Talemaitoga
Cons: Eade 3
Pens: Eade 4
Southland's John Hardie runs with the ball, Bay of Plenty v Southland, ITM Cup, Bay Park Stadium, Tautanga, September 18, 2013
John Hardie and Southland were too strong at the death
© Getty Images

Southland burst into life in the closing stages to overturn a 12-point deficit and defeat Bay of Plenty in their ITM Cup match at Baypark Stadium in Tauranga, the Stags scoring 20 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes to claim victory after all had appeared lost for a team that had struggled with their discipline and set-piece work.

Elliot Dixon and Marty McKenzie scored tries within two minutes of each other - the latter from a sweeping counter-attack - to swing momentum away from Bay of Plenty. Scott Eade converted both and followed up with two late penalties to register 18 points with a seven-from-seven goal-kicking display. Bay of Plenty first five-eighth Willie Ripia also had a good day with the boot, slotting seven-from-eight, but the Steamers scored only one try to the visitors' three.

The crossover match featured teams who were bottom of their respective divisions, but Southland's second win from six games leap-frogged them above four teams in the second-tier Championship division to sit provisionally in third place. Bay of Plenty remain last in the Championship after their fourth successive loss, after defeats by powerhouse unions Auckland, Canterbury and Wellington. Relegation remains a worry for Bay of Plenty, who narrowly avoided that fate last year, as the have opened their 2013 season with just one win from six matches.

The Steamers led 19-13 at half-time after impressive Australian winger Kimami Sitauti scored a post-siren try, but they paid the price for claiming only two Ripia penalty goals from their dominance of the second stanza before Southland launched their late show.

Robbie Robinson provided strike from the back for the Stags © Getty Images

Willie Ripia enjoyed a good night personally for the Steamers © Getty Images

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