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Despite score, Southland far from disgraced when playing Canterbury rugby 1973......Oliver and Barber sublime ...
Southland was far from disgraced in their loss to Canterbury in 1973. It was a shame that Canterbury came out of the blocks at a staggering pace and managed to put three tries on the scoreboard in the first fifteen minutes. Although this did take away some attraction of the game, it is hard to believe but Southland was the dominant team.
The teams were:
Two part time players for Southland Bob Barber and Frank Oliver were the stand out players.
The former was called upon when regular Andy Dickson could not play. Barber was recovering from a rugged game for the Maoris against the All Blacks the previous week. Oliver was marking the man who bet him into the All Blacks, McDonald, and it was conceded that it would have been a different story if the team was picked after this game. Oliver came on when Gerald Dermody left the field injured, and although Oliver had made himself unavailable the selectors were pleased he had changed his mind.
These two forwards were well supported by Phil Butt who at lock, had his best game of the season and Donald Hay, Ken McRae and Dave Saunders in the tight. Dave Nichol at full back was sound - even though he was opposite one of the best in the game - Fergie McCormick.
The score was 12-0 at half time with Terry Mitchell, the junior All Black, scoring after five minutes. Duncan Hales then charged down a kick from Lin Booth scored, and three minutes later scored again.
After half time Southland changed their tactics and threw the ball around. It was going left to right and back again at such a pace - Canterbury were starting to feel the pressure.
The backline came alive when Rae at second five eight, who was a replacement for Les O'Donnell, found gaps and linked up well with his club mate, John Polson. They were rewarded with a fine try by Peter Ross.
Canterbury could not get out of their half in the last 20 minutes and against the run of play Duncan Hales scored his third try.
Barber overstepped the mark when he late tackled Fergie McCormick, who got up and banged over a penalty to make the final score 19-4.
Reference. Southland Well Beaten But Far From Humbled. The Southland Times. August 1973.