Southland seems settled despite short turnaround

Euphoria and adrenaline will only get you so far.

The Stags will be hoping it gets them through the rest the week or at least through tonight's match against Taranaki in New Plymouth.

Southland broke that much-talked-about 27-game losing streak with a 42-14 win against Counties Manukau in Invercargill on Saturday.

It was a huge emotional relief for the camp. But the nature of the Mitre 10 Cup means the celebrations have been cut short.

Southland has a quick turnaround but has named a settled-looking side despite some tired bodies.

There is just one change to the starting side. Lock Mike McKee has returned from a hamstring complaint.

His return means fellow lock Ray Tatafu, who has had a big workload, moves to the bench, while Southland B player Craig Smith keeps his spot in the starting side after a solid showing against Counties.

Front rower Shaun Stodart is ill and has been replaced on the bench by Howard Sililoto, and loose forward Lio Tosi drops out of the game-day squad.

McKee injured his hamstring in the game against Manawatu. He will strengthen the lineout which coach Dave Hewett felt misfired at times during the Counties game.

''The set piece is an area we need to sharpen up on,'' Hewett said.

''Our lineout delivery was not good enough and it is an area we need to focus on.

''And we need to focus on the things we did do well and that was our defence and our attack. We can't just pull stuff out of the hat because the guys just don't have that experience.

''But we are confident now that what we have been doing can work.''

Taranaki has had injury setbacks and gone through a form slump after making a bright start.

''But they are a great side. They've got some aggressive forwards and some dynamic backs. We are going to have to be able to shut them down.''

Taranaki has made two changes to the starting side which lost 35-17 to Hawke's Bay 35-17 on Friday.

Hooker Bradley Slater replaces the injured Ricky Riccitelli (calf) and centre Sean Wainui returns after successfully appealing a four-week ban for a dangerous tackle on Otago's Slade McDowall.

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