Otago Daily Times

Don­nelly full of praise for his side’s at­ti­tude, per­for­mance

- STEVE HEP­BURN Sports · College Sports · Rugby · Otago Region · Christchurch · Championship · Invercargill · Josh Ioane

OTAGO had a few dis­trac­tions this week but shrugged them off, show­ing the depth in its squad.

Otago coach Tom Don­nelly was full of praise for the ap­proach of his squad in what could have been a tricky game against North­land.

North­land had made an im­pres­sive start to its sea­son and can al­ways be dan­ger­ous.

Otago had a short turn­around, hav­ing played just last Sun­day, and then key duo Josh Ioane and Vil­imoni Koroi were dropped from the game after break­ing team pro­to­col dur­ing the week.

But it did not seem to bother the Otago side, which hoed into its work and never took a back­ward step.

Don­nelly praised the per­for­mance.

‘‘Just the whole at­ti­tude.

‘‘The boys had a short turn­around this week, the dis­rup­tion dur­ing the week but the boys fronted up.

‘‘Some young guys came on and did the job,’’ he said.

‘‘Then we’ve got some old guys in the front row who are do­ing the job.

‘‘The set piece was strong again.’’

Otago is build­ing depth ev­ery week and as the sea­son goes on a squad with lots of qual­ity play­ers is very much a key for any team with am­bi­tions.

Don­nelly said play­ers were sim­ply tak­ing their chances.

He praised the play of first five­eighth Jono Hickey, who stepped in for the ab­sent Ioane. Hickey is bet­ter known as a half­back but did well one place fur­ther out.

‘‘We have got a re­ally good squad right through­out and tonight that just proved it.’’

He said what hap­pened to Ioane and Koroi was in the past now. The ac­tions and penal­ties had been done and they would be back in the team next week.

North­land is a big side but Otago got in the North­land play­ers’ faces, not al­low­ing them any time with the ball and hit­ting hard on de­fence.

‘‘[De­fence coach) Lee Al­lan and the boys have done a great job on de­fence this week. We were able to stop their ball car­ri­ers and off­loads and they just could not get into the game.’’

Don­nelly said the side was not look­ing too far ahead and was sim­ply con­cen­trat­ing on one game at a time.

The team will face heavy­weight Can­ter­bury in Christchur­ch next Fri­day night in a cross­over game.

Otago sits top of the Cham­pi­onship lad­der and is 14 points clear of South­land, which is fifth on the lad­der.

Otago has to play South­land in In­ver­cargill on Novem­ber 6 and Tas­man at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium on Novem­ber 14 to com­plete the reg­u­lar sea­son.

 ??  ?? Tom Don­nelly
Tom Don­nelly

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