25 Sep 2010

Southland coach quick to ditch favourites tag

3:23 pm on 25 September 2010

The Southland co-coach Dave Henderson has been quick to dismiss suggestions the Stags are favourites to knock over the traditional provincial rugby powerhouses and win the ITM Cup after Thursday night's nail-biting 9-6 Ranfurly Shield defence against Auckland in Invercargill.

The Stags have accounted for three out of five of the Super Rugby provinces beating Auckland, Waikato and Otago and have only Canterbury and Wellington left to face.

Southland are firmly on top of the competition six points clear of their nearest rivals but Henderson says they're not getting ahead of themselves.

The team dedicated their Shield defence to their storm ravaged province after hundreds of locals helped out at Rugby Park during the week shovelling snow off the ground, in a desperate attempt to avoid the game being moved to Dunedin after savage weather buffeted the region.

The Stags repaid their faithful fans with another display of dogged defence and Henderson says his side drew inspiration from the spirit of the Southland community.

The Stags' next Shield defence is against Canterbury in two weeks.