Plenty of pre-season drama
The Southland Stags and Wellington Lions fired early warning shots in NPC pre-season matches.
The Stags kicked off their 2012 campaign with a 38-0 win over a Canterbury selection in Oamaru, while Wellington survived a spirited Manawatu challenge to run away with a 38-24 win at the Hutt Recreation Ground.
The championship kicks off on August 23.
Southland 38-0 Canterbury
Southland beat an under-strength Canterbury 38-0 in a national provincial championship warm-up match.
The southerners defied wet conditions to scores six tries, four of which were converted by fullback Marty McKenzie, against a young Canterbury side playing in the guise of "the Cantabrians".
After significant rain in the last few days the pitch conditions were soft but this didn't stop some enterprising rugby being attempted from both sides.
The Stags executed well and handled exceptionally in the tough conditions.
There was some very good interplay between backs and forwards and some deft offloads leading to several tries. The Stags won the set piece battle, got the best out of the kicking dual and tackled aggressively.
Wing Mark Wells, lock Hoani Macdonald and scrumhalf Jimmy Cowan crossed in the first half for Southland while the second-half tries went to three reserves - Micheal Peterson, Junior Ngaluafe and Aston Talaia.
Canterbury, the defending NPC champions, lost their first warm-up match last week 5-29 to Tasman in Kaikoura.
Tries: Talaia, Ngaluafe, Peterson, J Cowan, McDonald, Wells
Cons: McKenzie 4
Southland: 15 Marty McKenzie, 14 Mark Wells, 13 Matt Saunders, 12 Josh Hall, 11 Tim Cornforth, 10 Scott Eade, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Hoani Macdonald, 7 Tim Boys, 6 John Hardie, 5 Alex Ryan, 4 Ben Nally, 3 Nic Barrett, 2 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Tuki Raimona.
Replacements - from: Jason Rutledge, Talemaitoga Tuapati, Micheal Peterson, Aston Talaia, Josh Bekhuis, Campbell Smith, Scott Cowan, Matt Gandy, Junior Ngualafe.
Cantabrians: 15 Sam Monaghan, 14 Rhys Llewellyn, 13 Shayne Anderson, 12 James Schrader, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Mark Jackman, 9 Ellery Wilson, 8 Taniela Manu, 7 Tom Stanley, 6 Sam Dickinson, 5 Dom Bird, 4 Joel Everson, 3 Andrew Olorenshaw, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Paea Fa'anunu.
Replacements - from: Mark Abbott, Jed Brown, Sam Cottam, Mitch Graham, Kolio Hifo, Jordan Hyland, Luke Katane, Fia Meafou, Matt Moulds, Rameeka Paraki.
Referee: Kane McBride/Vinny Munro
Wellington Lions 38-24 Manawatu Turbos
The Wellington Lions survived a spirited Manawatu challenge to run away with a 38-24 win in their pre-season match at the Hutt Recreation Ground.
Both sides would have taken plenty from an entertaining match that saw 10 tries scored despite slippery conditions.
Wellington No.8 Genesis Mamea put his hand up for further inspection for the home side with his powerful ball carrying, while wing Belgium Tuatagaloa had some bright moments out wide.
For Manawatu, big inside centre Matenga Baker provided momentum in the midfield and wing George Tilsley looked dangerous every time he touched the ball.
The visitor's led 19-17 at halftime, but despite some flimsy and dysfunctional defence, Wellington had the superior attack and with a mountain of second half possession never really looked like losing.
Wellington have one more pre-season match, against Canterbury, before kicking off the NPC season against Manawatu on August 24.
Tries: Hammington, Bateman, Sione, Wilson, Fuglistaller, Peleseuma
Cons: Woodward 3, Ngati
Tries: Tilsley 2, Baker, Paia'aua
Cons: George 2
Wellington: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Parataiso Silafai-Leaana, 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Belgium Tutagaloa, 10 Tim Bateman, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Genesis Mamea, 7 Serge Lilo, 6 Deon Carney, 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Eric Sione, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Solomona Sakalia.
Replacements - from: Reggie Goodes, Liu Taituave, Joe Latta, Scott Fuglistaller, Frae Wilson, Ope Peleseuma, Seminar Manu, Charlie Ngatai, Matt Proctor, Taniela Rakambula.
Manawatu: 15 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 14 Craig Clare, 13 Jason Emery, 12 Matenga Baker, 11 George Tilsley, 10 Nathan George, 9 Karl Bryson, 8 Hamish Gosling, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 6 Tepasu Thomas, 5 Reece Robinson, 4 Fraser Stone, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Bryn Templeman, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements - from: Rob Foreman, David Te Moana, Dan Squire, Callum Gibbins, Jared Brock, Papa Wharewera, Frankie Bryant, Lewis Marshall, Junior Tomasi Cama, Willie Paia'aua.
Referee: Mike Fraser/Ben O'Keeffe