Auckland's 39-26 triumph over Southland has resurrected their season, and they had to battle hard for the win.
Auckland had won only one game before their encounter with the Randfurly Shield holders, and were forced to defend for their lives to hold off Southland who fought back bravely in the final 20 minutes of the match.
Excellent goal-kicking from Gareth Anscombe and a magnificent 70-metre individual try from Joe Rokocko sealed the victory for Auckland, after the two sides had been neck and neck in the first half.
Meanwhile it was a terrific kicking performance from Glenn Dicksonthat gave Otago a flattering 30-14 victory over Counties-Manukau.
Otago made the most of a measly share of possession of possession and territory as Dickson nailed seven of his eight shots at goal, while the victory is also a testament to the Otago defence that was able to withstand wave after wave of Counties attack.
Counties had all the ball and played far more rugby that Otago, but their own errors and the sturdy defence led to their eventual downfall.
Auckland 39-26 Southland
Tries: Anscombe, Lowrey, Rokocko, Parkes, Manu
Cons: Anscombe 4
Pens: Anscombe 2
Tries: Wilson, Boys, Eade, Horton
Cons: Wilson 3
Auckland: 15 Brent Ward, 14 Joe Rokocoko, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Teddy Stanaway, 11 Francis Saili, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Chris Lowrey, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Nathan Hughes, 5 Josh Townsend, 4 Steve Luatua, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 Ash Dixon, 1 Tom McCartney (captain).
Replacements: 16 Pauliasi Manu, 17 Tevita Mailau, 18 Richard Haddon, 19 Ben Masoe, 20 Toby Morland, 21 Piers Francis, 22 George Moala, 23 Angus Ta'avao.
Southland: 15 Glen Horton, 14 Kade Poki, 13 James Lew, 12 James Wilson, 11 Tony Koonwaiyou, 10 Scott Eade, 9 Sonny Rangitohereri, 8 Kaleni Taituli, 7 Tom Chamberlain, 6 Tim Boys, 5 Joe Tuineau, 4 Ben Nally, 3 Michael Peterson, 2 Jason Rutledge (captain), 1 Chris King.
Replacements: 16 David Hall, 17 Jamie Mackintosh, 18 Nick Barrett, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Scott Cowan, 22 Matt Saunders, 23 Robbie Robinson.
Referee: Vinny Munro
Otago 30-14 Counties-Manukau
Tries: Legg, Smith
Pens: Dickson 6
Pens: Kerr 3
Otago: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Glenn Dickson, 11 Buxton Popoali'i, 10 Tony Brown, 9 Johnny Legg, 8 Andrew Stead, 7 Adam Hill, 6 Peter Grant, 5 Tom Donnelly (captain), 4 Rob Verbakel, 3 James McGougan, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Scott Manson.
Replacements: 16 Jason MacDonald, 17 Kees Meeuws, 18 Tom Franklin, 19 Gareth Evans, 20 Sean Romans, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Ben Atiga, 23 Halani Aulika.
Counties-Manukau: 15 James Semple, 14 Tyrone Lefau, 13 Siale Piutau, 12 Niva Ta'auso, 11 Bundee Aki, 10 Baden Kerr, 9 August Pulu, 8 Viliami Fihaki, 7 Mark Selwyn, 6 Adam Cathcart, 5 Jamie Chipman (captain), 4 Chris McLaren, 3 Matt Talaese, 2 Grant Henson, 1 Ihipa Thompson.
Replacements: 16 Mark Price, 17 Simon Lemalu, 18 Taiasina Tuifua, 19 DJ Forbes, 20 Samisoni Fisilau, 21 Tasesa Lavea, 22 Sherwin Stowers, 23 Jeremiah Fatialofa.
Referee: Shane McDermott
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