Southland has retained rugby's Ranfurly Shield with a stylish 47-21 over North Harbour at Invercargill, scoring seven tries to three.
The holders scored after only three minutes and although North Harbour equalised quickly with a great try to left wing Nafi Tuitavake their defensive lapses and inability to retain possession often enabled Southland to counter-atack with pace and width.
Tries to Matt Saunders, Jamie McIntosh and Scott Cowan had Southland ahead 21-7 at half-time and the win was assured when Glen Horton scored soon after the break.
Centre Kendrick Lynn scored the first of his two tries after Harbour had closed to within 12 points and he got the second in injury time as the challengers pressed hard for a bonus point try.
Southland's next challenge is from Auckland in a fortnight.