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. ’’

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