Otago Country off to good start
Otago Country started off the season with a hiss and a roar, defeating Mid Canterbury A by 44-24 in their clash at Hinds.
Country went into the break 29-12 up, courtesy of tries to Willie Miller, Dylan Mathieson, Tyler Bichan and Jason Richan. Angus Gibb converted three of the tries and got a penalty. Country continued their dominance at the breakdown, and scored three more tries in the second half to put the game to bed. Bichan scored his second, whilst Angus Gibb and Blair van der Voort also crossed. The strong wind made kicking difficult in the second half.
There were numerous stand outs for the Country side; halfback Jared Edwards had a very strong game. He found plenty of gaps around the ruck to show off his impressive running game. He also used his boot to great effect, making metres and turning the opposition around well. Tyler Bichan was another of the backs to stand out; he was confident under the high ball and injected himself well into the backline.
Simon Lloyd on debut was solid. He never missed a tackle and could be relied on from the start. Up front, the loose forward trio of Daniel Hurring, Aiden Winter and Dean Sinnamon (also on debut) were very strong. Country also had some solid impact off the bench with the likes of Blair van der Voort, Jonny Sargent and Logan Cornish all having strong games.
Mid Canterbury scored some nice tries, with lightning-fast winger Timoci Nabakeke showing his class from the outset. He ran well and was very hard to catch when given space, and dotted down twice. Mid Canterbury scored four tries, all from broken play.
The backline had the size advantage but the Otago Country defence was strong, structured and committed. Fullback Tim Hanrahan and winger Lepani Seitava also scored tries. The other points came from the boot of Adam Bishell.
This was a positive start for the Otago Country side. It was pleasing to see the forwards find their feet early in the season and dominate in such a manner. Another positive was the fact that Country were able to blood six new players, all who played their part well. This can only be a positive going forward.
They take on North Otago on Saturday, at Wanaka, which will be a step up for them.
‘‘It was pleasing to see the forwards find their feet early in the season and dominate in such a manner. ’’