Otago Daily Times

Spirit un­done by last­gasp penalty goal

RUGBY Farah Palmer Cup

- ADRIAN SECONI Wellington ............................................................................................. 27 Otago .................................................................................................... 24 Sports · Rugby · Otago Region · Wellington, New Zealand · Championship · South Pool

THE Otago Spirit was de­nied a win­ning fin­ish to the Farah Palmer Cup by a late Wellington penalty.

Tham­syn New­ton drilled the shot with the last act of the game to seal a 27­24 win in Wellington on Satur­day.

But coach Scott Man­son has judged the sea­son a rea­son­able suc­cess re­gard­less.

His side fin­ished fourth in the South Pool with two wins from five games.

‘‘The level of op­po­si­tion was far bet­ter this year than what we’ve pre­vi­ously played against,’’ he said.

‘‘We are used to be­ing in that

Cham­pi­onship where you don’t al­ways get chal­lenged each week.

‘‘So we’ve done a lot of learn­ing around that this sea­son. We should have won the Manawatu game and then this game [against

Wellington] we could have won.

‘‘But I think we’ve got the skill set and the abil­ity to com­pete against some teams. But at the same time we’ve still got a lot to learn men­tally in test­ing sit­u­a­tions.’’

Wellington opened the scor­ing through ex­cit­ing winger Kolora Lo­mani.

She beat a cou­ple of tack­lers af­ter Wellington had strung a se­ries of phases to­gether.

Lo­mani was in again not long af­ter and New­ton drilled the side­line con­ver­sion to make it 14­0.

Winger Meg Breen got Otago on the score­board af­ter she col­lected a nice skip pass from Rosie Kelly and dot­ted down in the cor­ner.

Mid­fielder Teilah Fer­gu­son nar­rowed to gap to 14­12 when she forced he way over late in the half.

New­ton had opened the scor­ing in the sec­ond half with a penalty, and then cen­tre Mon­ica Tagoai took a short ball and ran in from 15m.

The Spirit ral­lied and even­tu­ally found space out on the right for Kiana Wereta to score. And an Otago penalty try helped set up an ex­cit­ing fin­ish.

But un­for­tu­nately for the vis­it­ing team, New­ton had the last say.

Waikato will play Manawatu in one semi­fi­nal, while Can­ter­bury will host Coun­ties Manukau in the other.

Can­ter­bury is chas­ing a fourth con­sec­u­tive ti­tle.

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