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It was 1987 and Southland took on Otago for the 184th game and 100 years of the provinces playing each other. There is nothing like the rival between neighbours and this game was no exception. These two provinces have always played good hard rugby followed by great camaraderie.
Southland were playing at home and facing an Otago team that had just had three wins on the trot.
The first points came from Barry Matthews kicking the ball high into their 22 - Paul Turner could not handle the greasy ball - Terry Brown, the young lock for Southland, pounced on the opportunity and with the help of the forward pack drove up field and scored.
Southland with their confidence growing played assertive rugby and forced Otago into mistakes which saw them win a penalty from a line-out infringement. Eion Crossan missed.
Former All Black and half-back, Dean Kenny demanded more from his forwards, they responded. The Otago backs made most of their opportunities and ran in 4 tries to one.
Southland redeemed themselves with the crowd enjoying the commitment shown by the team.
For Otago, Paul Henderson, Brent Pope and Lindsay Smith were all good.
Paul Laidlaw was the general at first five eight for Southland. The Southland forward pack played more aggressively with the likes of Murray Hewitson, Geoff Clark and Bruce Lewis in the tight.
Trevor Bokser (captain), Dennis Kelly and Brent Shepherd played well.
The referee was Craig Morton.
Reference: Morrison J. Improved Southland loses to Otago. The Southland
Times July 1987.
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