After winning rugby's Ranfurly Shield in Christchurch last season Southland face what looks like their toughest challenge when they host a resurgent Canterbury on Saturday night.
Although Canterbury made another slow start to the provincial championship they're back on top and will field a tough pack and a talented backline.
The defending champions' midfield includes Sonny Bill Williams, who's looking increasingly assured in the 15-man game.
Williams is big enough to play on the side or back of the scrum but Southland's co-coach Simone Culhane says there're no special plans to deal with him, though he joked about using a sniper.
Culhane points to the other threats Canterbury have as being of equal worry, as well as talking up Southland's own attacking prowess.