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Southland rugby’s lack of size at the under-19 level was again exposed on Saturday in a 46-7 loss to Tasman in a game played in Christchurch.
Since New Zealand Rugby introduced its national under-19 competition Southland has worked hard, but has found it difficult to match more powerful and athletic teams.
Southland trailed 24-nil at halftime against Tasman before letting in a further 22 second-half points.Southland coach Daryl Thompson described it as another "David and Goliath" battle for his team.
"Goliath often comes out on top just because David has to work so much harder.
"To get quick ball we have to commit more players to the breakdown.
"We did put some good phases together, but we were outmuscled."
Despite the loss, lock Ben Paulin impressed, as did centre Kaleni Elder, who scored Southland’s sole try.
Another positive was the return of prop Sy Waiti, who returned to rugby on Saturday after he missed a large chunk of the club season with a dislocated shoulder.
His return was timely given key prop Ethan de Groot is sidelined with an ankle injury.
The assignment gets even tougher for Southland as it eyes another trip to Christchurch this Saturday to take on another powerhouse team in Canterbury.
To put the challenge Southland has into perspective, Canterbury beat Tasman 95-nil in a preseason fixture.
- Logan Savory