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Jimmy Cowan stars and sinbinned in Tasman win over Southland

Jimmy Cowan had an eventful return to his former provincial home as he scored a try and was sinbinned in Tasman's 38-14 win over Southland.

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The former All Black No.9 played his last game for the Stags at Rugby Park two years ago before heading to English club Gloucester.

Wednesday night's ITM Cup clash was his first trip to Invercargill since his return to New Zealand and the 32-year-old had the last laugh as Tasman outscored the Stags five tries to two in a comprehensive victory.

Tasman's dominant set-piece and slick handling was just too much for Southland who did not help their cause with unforced errors, sloppy defending and poor ball retention.

The Stags also had a veteran All Black to call on too with hooker Andrew Hore on the bench. He made his Southland debut in the 63rd minute and showed he had lost none of his pilfering skills with a couple of well-taken steals at the ruck.

But by that stage Southland were well out of the contest. They were chasing the game early after finding themselves down 24-0 after just 23 minutes.

Pete Samu was first across the whitewash after 11 minutes. Cowan scooted over nine minutes later from close range after Southland's scrum was pushed backwards.

Marty Banks scored next when Lima Sopoaga's clearance kick was charged down by Shane Christie. It capped off an impressive night's work by the first-five who was perfect with the boot and ended with 18 points after adding five conversions and a penalty to his try.

Southland hooker Dillan Halaholo finally got his side on the board just before the half-hour mark when he peeled off a maul to score.

But it was a rare moment of success and Tasman had the bonus point wrapped up early in the second half when winger James Lowe showed his speed and silky running to score the first of his brace.

Cowan was sinbinned for cynical play on 55 minutes to the delight of the Rugby Park crowd.

But Southland could not take advantage and it was Lowe who raced in for Tasman's fifth try of the night despite being down to 14 men.

The home side got a consolation score 10 minutes from time when they finally strung a decent passage of play together and Billy Fukofuka dotted down.

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