Bay of Plenty go top of Mitre 10 Cup Championship with win over Southland

Bay of Plenty have temporarily moved top of the Mitre 10 Cup Championship, defeating Southland 22-12 in Invercargill.

Entering the match just two points behind first-placed Hawke's Bay, Bay of Plenty took the lead late in the first half, with loose forward Mitchell Karpik opening the scoring.

Southland would hit back before the break, though, through Matt James, before Ray Nu'u gave the Stags a 12-5 lead at halftime.

The second half would belong comfortably to the visitors, though.

Tries to Emoni Narawa and Te Aihe Toma put Bay of Plenty in front once again, before Marty McKenzie was sent to the sin bin for a cynical foul.

Their opponents down to 14 men, Bay of Plenty sealed the victory and the bonus point, with lock Tom Franklin scoring from a driving maul to secure the win in the final 10 minutes.

The win sends Bay of Plenty top of the championship, albeit having played a game more than Hawke's Bay.

However, Hawke's Bay could retake the lead at the top of the table should they be able to inflict a first loss of the season against Tasman on Saturday.