Southland's Cowan winning farewell
Wed, 26 Sep 2012 11:39p.m.
Southland have repelled some intense late Northland pressure to give long-time servant Jimmy Cowan a winning farewell.
In his 102nd and last rugby game for the Stags, the 51-Test halfback played his part in securing a 16-12 victory in Invercargill.
Cowan, who is heading to English club Gloucester, pulled off a last-minute tackle just out from his line that led to a turnover.
Having dropped their first four matches of the national provincial competition, Southland have now won three in row to climb to a share of fourth in the second-tier Championship.
Northland's narrow-loss bonus point lifts them to third.
Southland took an early 6-0 lead via two Scott Eade penalties.
That was extended when lock Josh Bekhuis, lurking on left wing, scored a try that Eade converted from wide out.
Down 13-0, Northland came out fired up in the second half and centre Rene Ranger was a constant menace with his rampaging runs.
It was first five-eighth Ash Moeke who got them on the board, barging through several would-be tacklers to dot down.
Moeke added the extras, then produced a deft cross-kick that led to a try to substitute hooker Tone Kopelani.
But 13-12 was as close as the visitors got, and Eade banged over his third penalty to give his side some breathing space.
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