The Southland Rugby Football Union was founded in 1887 and celebrated its centenary in 1987. The team is known as the ‘Stags’, and is based at Rugby Park, Invercargill, a 17,000 capacity stadium. They are New Zealand’s southernmost union.
Colours and Logo
The Stags play their home games in strip of maroon and white and the logo is a shield in red and yellow, containing a shief of wheat, ram and crown over a rugby ball. The strip has been worn by some notable players as Adedayo Adebayo, Jeff Wilson, Earl Va’a, Kel Tremain, Damian Hopley, Norm Hewitt, Kevin Laidlaw, Simon Culhane, Kevin Laidlaw and Justin Marshall to name but a few.
There have been notable Ranfurly Shield reigns, particularly throughout the 40’s and 50’s. Since then there have been some close challenges, including a 13-9 loss to Auckland at Eden Park in 2008. However the 50-year drought ended in 2009 when the Stags beat Canterbury 9-3.
The Southland Stags were champions in the NPC South Island Second Division in 1982 and 1984, and NPC Division Two Champions in 1989, 1994 and 1996. As for the Air New Zealand Cup their best finish was a third place in 2009, having been 4th in 2008.
ITM Cup 2012 Preview –
Southland will contest the Championship in 2012, the second tier competition in the ITM Cup. Jamie McIntosh, Josh Bekhuis and the ever-green Jason Rutledge will contribute to an impressive tight-five for the Stags, while Tim Boys and Hoani McDonald are robust loose-forwards. Experienced backs, including former-All Black Jimmy Cowan, Matt Saunders and Kade Poki mean Southland will field a well-rounded side, and are genuine contenders for the Championship title, and promotion to the top-flight.