North Otago and Horowhenua-Kapiti will have ample motivation when the two sides meet at Whitestone Stadium this afternoon.
North Otago could not string together a third close win in a row, going down 22-18 to King Country in Taumarunui.
Southland has advanced to the Michael Jones Trophy semifinals at the national under-19 rugby tournament in Taupo.
Much as the Southland Stags did 24 hours earlier at Rugby Park, Southland B showed promise yesterday, but ultimately a lack of accuracy was its downfall in a 41-21 loss to Canterbury B.
Two of the three unbeaten teams in Heartland rugby will meet this afternoon when King Country hosts North Otago in Taumarunui.
Southland may well head into the national under-19 rugby tournament without key player Ethan de Groot, as a possible Stags call-up looms.
North Otago winger Simon Lillicama scored in the final moments of the game to help snatch a dramatic 34-33 win against Mid Canterbury at the Ashburton Showgrounds on Saturday.
It is a short trip up the highway for North Otago today as it looks to get one over one of its closest rivals.
The Otago Country premier team heads to Heriot today to take on Southland B in what should be an intriguing match.
Among the Southland Stags' swot for their crunch test tomorrow night, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has lumped the boys in maroon with two further head-scratching assignments.
There was enough displayed in Blenheim yesterday to pique the interest of the Southland faithful as the Stags took on provincial powerhouse Tasman.
North Otago staged a great fightback in the second half to beat Buller 30-24 at Whitestone Contracting Stadium on Saturday.
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.
The Southland Stags forwards may well find themselves waking up in a cold sweat over the coming days with the powerful Hawke’s Bay lineout drive etched in their minds.