Southern not so bad after all...

University halfback Kieran McClea evades a tackle during a match against Alhambra-Union at Logan...
University halfback Kieran McClea evades a tackle during a match against Alhambra-Union at Logan Park at the weekend.PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
There is always a line or two you wish you could take back.

Like last week’s effort which dismissed Southern’s prospects this year.

That comment was based loosely on the Magpies’ loss to Zingari-Richmond during a pre-season encounter.

But what do we know about pre-season rugby? Yep. It is meaningless. You can draw meaning from Southern’s 29-14 win against Harbour at Watson Park on Saturday, though.

That was a thoroughly decent performance. Robust No 8 Mika Mafi turned back the clock with some storming runs down the blindside.

Hooker Joe Cairns-Thomson popped up everywhere he was needed.

Highlanders midfielder Tei Walden’s leadership and flanker Brad Horne’s workload were influential, as well.

Mitch Taylor had a solid game at first five in his debut for the club.

Coach Luke Herden is hoping his side will build on the performance this week.

Southern hosts University at Bathgate Park and the V. G. Cavanagh Memorial is at stake.

University has it. Southern wants it. And it is a game many look forward to each year.

"Historically it is one of the biggest club trophies in the country," Herden said.

"The varsity students that leave and go and work around the country always keep an eye on the battle with Southern for the Cavanagh.

"We desperately want it back. It is massive for our club. Along with the Ron Reggett it is one of the two major trophies that get talked about.

"So this weekend we will be full noise. The boys know what it means, so it is up to them."

The history behind the trophy is discussed each year at the club.

Vic Cavanagh and his son, also Vic Cavanagh, both played for the club. Old Vic was the first captain of the Southern club but made his reputation as a coach. He led Southern to three premierships between 1904 and 1915, and later coached University to 10 titles between 1923 and 1934. Young Vic coached Southern towards the end of Old Vic’s stint with University and the matches between the two teams attracted huge crowds.

The two Cavanaghs joined forces to coach Otago and helped repel eight challenges to retain the Ranfurly Shield in 1936.

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