Southland 34-31 North Harbour, ITM Cup
Marty McKenzie stars for Stags
September 22, 2013
Date/Time: Sep 22, 2013, 16:35 local, 04:35 GMT
Venue: Rugby Park Stadium, Invercargill
Southland 34 - 31 North Harbour
Half-time: 5 - 16
Tries: Boys, McKenzie 2, T-Pole, Vaega
Cons: Eade, McKenzie 2
Drops: McKenzie
Tries: Ahki, Hall, Manihera
Cons: Elrick 2
Pens: Elrick 4
Southland's Marty McKenzie runs the ball, Bay of Plenty v Southland, ITM Cup, Baypark Stadium, Tauranga, September 18, 2013
Mart McKenzie starred in Invercargill
© Getty Images
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Southland stormed home to beat North Harbour courtesy of a virtuoso display by Marty McKenzie, who scored two tries, set up others and landed a last-minute drop goal to clinch victory in their ITM Cup match at Rugby Park Stadium in Invercargill.

The Stags made a slow start, and they trailed 16-5 after conceding a string of penalties, and a try from Jordan Manihera, but they emerged after their half-time rev up to make the most of North Harbour's failing to cover a kick ahead. Tim Boys tidied the ball, lock Michael Fatialofa charged ahead and the ball was moved to McKenzie, who created the gap and got over for the try.

McKenzie was involved again eight minutes later, kicking superbly to the corner, tidying up some bedraggled play. North Harbour, five metres from their line, failed to take the lineout ball. John Hardie secured the ball for the Stags, who won the ensuing ruck to feed McKenzie. The fly-half threw a long pass to Cardiff Vaega, who was dragged down millimetres short of the line. But McKenzie was on hand as the ruck formed to spin around the blind side and claim his second try to give Southland the lead for the first time in the game.

North Harbour struck back when replacement halfback Bryn Hall sneaked around the blindside of a ruck close to Southland's line to score wide out, but McKenzie soon had the Stags back on the front foot - his kick behind the North Harbour backs forcing a lineout after the defenders kicked the ball out; the Stags moved the ball across the posts and replacement flanker Hale T-Pole scrambled over for the try.

Southland looked to score another try when they mounted another attack, but North Harbour's Pita Ahki intercepted a long pass from Hardie and raced 80 metres for seemed to be a winning score for the visitors.

Willis Halaholo broke the North Harbour defence and Boys was perfectly placed to take the ball and drop over the line to score a converted try to level the scores before McKenzie landed the final punch.

© Sportal

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