Hookers run riot as Southland claim gritty win over Magpies, Rutledge comes off bench at 42 years old

In a historic night, dominated by hookers, the Stags have managed to start their season off on a high with a gritty win over Hawke's Bay.

Manaaki Selby-Rickit and Jason Rutledge of Southland after defeating Hawke's Bay during the round 1 Mitre 10 Cup match between Southland and Hawke's Bay at Rugby Park Stadium. Source: Getty

The hookers were the stars of the game with the story of the night being the appearance of Southland veteran, Jason Rutledge who at 42 years of age, broke a 112-year-old record becoming the oldest player to turn out for Southland.

Nicknamed "Cabbage", Rutledge was called into the squad as a replacement for injured hooker Talemaitonga Tuapati, and despite coming on in the closing minutes of the match he had his work cut out for him.

With both sides scoring two tries a piece the game went down to the wire with the Stags holding a six-point lead.

Hawke's Bay were awarded a scrum just in front of the Southland line but a big Southland scrum, featuring Rutledge, resulted in the Stags gaining possession and kicking the ball dead to win the game.

Also adding to the uniqueness of the match was the fact the four tries in the match came only from hookers, with Southland's Greg Pleasants-Tate and Hawke's Bay's Ash Dixon scoring two tries each.

The win was much-needed with Southland coming off a dismal season last year winning just one game.

They will look to build on tonights win as they face Bay of Plenty in Rotorua next week.