Otago Daily Times

Otago shows class to dom­i­nate North­land

- STEVE HEP­BURN Sports · Soccer · Rugby · ITM Cup · Gerry Brownlee · New York Yankees

TOO big and strong up front and too slick and pro­fes­sional out back.

Otago has got a foot in the Mitre 10 Cup cham­pi­onship play­offs after a dom­i­nant 30­7 win over North­land last night at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium.

Otago was never trou­bled against a woe­ful vis­it­ing side, which was well off the pace. The home side did the ba­sics right and that was more than enough to fin­ish well ahead of North­land.

It scored two tries in each half and the last one with three min­utes to go clinched the all im­por­tant bonus point. It was ahead 13­0 at the break.

Otago’s de­fence was strong and ac­cu­rate and kept the men from up north on the back foot the whole game.

The home team had the ma­jor­ity of ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion and never let North­land set­tle into its game.

North­land just could not get any­thing go­ing and had no re­spect for the ball.

Otago to­tally dom­i­nated the first half. It had plenty of ball and should have been fur­ther ahead.

North­land’s ball se­cu­rity was about as poor as Gerry Brown­lee’s po­lit­i­cal fu­ture. The men from the Kauri coun­try coughed the ball up seem­ingly at will.

It never cre­ated any pres­sure on Otago and the home side had no lengthy spells in de­fence as the North­land at­tack was very sloppy.

Otago did not stand back on de­fence and some hard hits by both for­wards and backs meant North­land never won any­thing on the ad­van­tage line.

The Otago front row, which com­bined brings to­gether 99 years, was strong in the set piece and got heav­ily in­volved in the break­down.

Josh Dick­son was again strong in the li­ne­out while the loose for­ward trio got round the pad­dock.

Otago scored its first try after 13 min­utes.

The side drove the ball up from a li­ne­out about 20m and then cleared the ball out the backs. Jona Nareki made a well timed en­try and broke the line. He threw a nice pass to Free­dom Va­haakolo who scored in the corner.

Jono Hickey added a penalty on 25 min­utes.

Five min­utes from half­time, North­land winger Pisi Leilua pulled out a clanger. He threw the ball into him­self but it only trav­elled 2m. A free kick was awarded and Otago im­me­di­ately steamed on to at­tack. The ball even­tu­ally went wide and Va­haakolo went over in the left hand corner this time.

Prop Josh Hoh­neck, who never scored a try for the High­landers when he played for them, then got on the board early in the sec­ond half to ex­tend the lead. North­land had one 10­minute pe­riod mid­way through the sec­ond half and scored a try through Rene Ranger. But good Otago de­fence stopped any mo­men­tum and re­place­ment hooker Ricky Jack­son scored the fourth try with three min­utes left.

Apart from the for­wards, who played well, winger Nareki was into ev­ery­thing and stamped his class while Matt Whaanga ran hard in his first start of the sea­son.

 ?? PHO­TOS: PETER MCIN­TOSH ?? Here’s look­ing at you . . . Free­dom Va­haakolo goes over to score his first try against North­land at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium last night.
PHO­TOS: PETER MCIN­TOSH Here’s look­ing at you . . . Free­dom Va­haakolo goes over to score his first try against North­land at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium last night.
 ??  ?? On the charge . . . Otago No 8 Sione Misiloi gets away from North­land lock Temo Mayana­vanua at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium last night.
On the charge . . . Otago No 8 Sione Misiloi gets away from North­land lock Temo Mayana­vanua at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium last night.

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