Otago team visit thrills Milton fans
Supervalue Milton hosted members of the Otago rugby team on Tuesday, to give fans a chance to be in to win passes to attend Saturday’s Otago versus Southland clash at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, which kicks off at 5pm.
Delighted fans also got autographs from their favourite players, along with Otago Rugby Football Union memorabilia. It’s the last regular season game of the 2017 Mitre 10 Cup in the ultimate battle of the south.
Otago lost to Bay of Plenty last Saturday at Dunedin, with the visitors winning by a bonus-point win, to also chase down one of the semi spots.
The Steamers surged home in the final 20 minutes to win 36-28 and jump into the top four on 23 points, with one match remaining against Waikato this weekend.
As a result, Otago, which went into the match in third place, now faces a must-win game against last-placed Southland at home.
In last week’s match, the home team started and finished the half strongly, with fullback Fletcher Smith crossing from close range to open the scoring courtesy of a superb inside ball from Jono Ruru.
First-five Josh Ioane also produced an equally impressive cut-out pass to set up winger Jona Nareki in the corner after he was denied minutes earlier by the TMO.
But sandwiched between those two tries were plenty of scrappy moments.
And Chase Tiatia made them pay through two classy pieces of play.
First the Bay of Plenty fullback left his defender for dead with some dazzling footwork before offloading to Hugh Blake. After an Otago mistake from the restart, he then caught the defence napping behind the ruck for Terrence Hepetema to score.
Otago bombed a golden chance to take control when Ruru put Josh Dickson through a gap, only for the lock’s flick pass to be far too hard for Slade McDowall, who only had to fall over the line.
Bay of Plenty then responded with two tries in five minutes. Leading by eight, a Matt Faddes try with six minutes to go made for a nervous finish but replacement halfback Luke Campbell sealed the result when he snuck over beside the posts.
Otago rugby fans lining up at Supervalue Milton on Tuesday.