Rugby: Southland on cusp of record for consecutive first division losses

Southland are on the brink of claiming one of New Zealand provincial rugby's most ignominious records.

Not only would a loss to frontrunners Auckland in Invercargill on Monday night round out a second-straight winless 2018 Mitre 10 Cup campaign, it would also be their 20th defeat on the trot.

It would push them past the mark set by Northland in 2016 for consecutive first-division losses.

That Stags' streak stretches back to the same year, and captain James Wilson admits it's been weighing on the squad.

"I think the morale isn't right up there amongst the team," Wilson told Newshub.

"But we get up every day and work hard for each other and that's all I can ask from the boys."

To say success has been elusive in recent times would be an understatement.

Through their 19 losses dating back to October 2016, they've conceded 735 points and scored just 134, losing by an average score of 15-38.

They're currently anchored at the bottom of the championship standings for yet another year, with just three competition points to their name.

They came agonisingly close to snapping their streak against Bay of Plenty last weekend only to be denied by a late Steamers try. That four-point loss was the closest they've come to breaking their duck.

At the other end of the scale – a 78-20 demolition at the hands of Canterbury in which they conceded 61 second-half points.

"It is what it is," said Southland coach, Dave Hewett. "We can't change it. What we have to do is continue to work to get an improved outcome, and that's a win."

With the significant hurdle of a red-hot Auckland team - who have just one loss to their name this season - in front of them, avoiding that burden of a record may prove too tall an order.

On the flipside of that, an upset, streak-snapping victory could result in a long night on Dee St.

Southland losing streak

Tasman                      0-56

Hawke's Bay             16-24

North Harbour            20-45

Northland                   13-44

Canterbury                 20-78

Auckland                    17-27

Bay of Plenty               0-57

Tasman                       17-50

Manawatu                   20-25

Wellington                    21-61

Otago                          19-43

Hawke's Bay               10-31

Tasman                        24-45

Wellington                    7-52

Counties-Manukau       26-43

Otago                           24-43

Northland                      26-10

Waikato                         11-42

Bay of Plenty                 22-26


Contact Newshub with your story tips: