Southland has edged ahead in the respect stakes.
Southland has started its season with a gutsy 16-10 win against Hawke’s Bay in Invercargill yesterday.
Reed Prinsep won’t be lacking All Black-level leadership nous to lean on when he leads Canterbury for the first time in this season’s Mitre 10 Cup.
An injury crisis has led to veteran hooker Jason Rutledge being called into the Southland squad and he could take to the field at the age of 42.
Players in the Mitre 10 Cup have taken a 20% pay cut, with the wage subsidy and New Zealand Rugby (NZR) relieving some financial pressure.
Southland is one of four provincial unions that may be forced to pull out of this year's Mitre 10 Cup competition, while Otago is also understood to be "on the fence".
Otago has been handed a tough draw for the Mitre 10 Cup this season although it has a Ranfurly Shield challenge.
Otago has signed more players for the Mitre 10 Cup season, welcoming back its captain and one of its form players from last year.
Current assistants Reuben Thorne and Mark Brown will take over the Canterbury head coach role from Joe Maddock.
Departing Southland coach Dave Hewett believes Southland has turned the corner but everyone has to go in the right direction if the union is to progress.