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Northland 13 - 9 Southland, ITM Cup
Taniwha beat Stags in scrappy contest
ESPN Staff
August 24, 2013
Date/Time: Aug 24, 2013, 16:35 local, 04:35 GMT
Venue: Okara Park, Whangarei
Northland 13 - 9 Southland
Half-time: 10 - 6
Tries: Seymour
Cons: Seymour
Pens: Seymour 2
Pens: Eade 3
Southland's Cardiff Vaega takes a tackle, Northland v Southland, ITM Cup, Toll Stadium, Whangerei, August 24, 2013
Cardiff Vaega was among Southland's better players
© Getty Images
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Northland have claimed their opening victory of the ITM Cup season, defeating Championship rivals Southland in a scrappy game at Toll Stadium in Whangerei.

Southland controlled much of the contest, through barnstorming breaks by Cardiff Vaega and the silky skills of Robbie Robinson,, but they were wasteful whenever they claimed good field position; the Stags are yet to score a try in the competition this season after losing 25-15 at home to Tasman in the opening round. And they will lament the three missed penalty kicks from Scott Eade, nine points that could have given them victory.

Northland, meanwhile, failed entirely to match the performance that almost secured the Ranfurly Shield from Waikato in week one, and the Taniwha were relieved when the final whistle blew having been under pressure for the final 10 minutes.

The sides each made basic mistakes throughout the game, and the only try of the match, by Ben Seymour midway through the first half, came after the Northland five-eighth had picked off a loose pass from John Hardie.

Rupeni Caucaunibuca, playing his first game for the Taniwha in a decade, showed a few glimpses of his glory days, and silky running looked to have handed his side a second try only for his final pass to Whiria Meltzer to be deemed forward.

Rene Ranger produced a trademark hit on Bryan Milne © Getty Images
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