Otago Daily Times

Don­nelly la­bels loss as prob­a­bly em­bar­rass­ing

- STEVE HEP­BURN Sports · Rugby · ITM Cup · Championship · Mitre 10

OTAGO coach Tom Don­nelly did not hide his emo­tions af­ter tast­ing de­feat last night.

His side lost its Mitre 10 Cup Championsh­ip semi­fi­nal 32­19 to North­land at Forsyth Barr Sta­dium and, for the sec­ond year in a row, has fallen at the penul­ti­mate stage.

Don­nelly did not hide his feel­ings af­ter the game.

‘‘It was ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing. I don't mind los­ing but the way we played tonight it was prob­a­bly em­bar­rass­ing,’’ he said

‘‘To be hon­est, I don't know what went wrong. I thought we had a re­ally good week's prepa­ra­tion. But it's been like that for the past three weeks to be hon­est. Pre­pare re­ally well and for what­ever rea­son put out per­for­mances we can't be proud of.’’

Don­nelly said the side should not have been lack­ing com­bi­na­tions as it had played to­gether all year. The side was well beaten at the break­down and Don­nelly did not hide from that.

‘‘We were poor, very poor there. Same as South­land a few weeks ago. That stopped our game from go­ing.

‘‘There were places there when we held on to the ball and looked good. But it was not enough — too many penal­ties, too many mis­takes and didn't get our break­down right.’’

Don­nelly said it was al­ways go­ing to be war at the break­down and a strong phys­i­cal con­test and the side had to be up for it.

It was a dis­ap­point­ing way to end the sea­son as the lost its fi­nal three games, go­ing down to South­land, Tas­man and now North­land.

He could not put his fin­ger on why that hap­pened but it was not through lack of ef­fort.

He praised the per­for­mance of winger Jona Nareki, the best player in the team all year.

North­land coach Ge­orge Ko­nia lauded his side, how it had played smart rugby through­out the game and played in the right parts of the field.

‘‘The break­down has been a fo­cus for us. Big im­prove­ments on past weeks and big progress from us,' Ko­nia said.

That helped the con­ti­nu­ity of the side and the poor ef­fort from North­land a month ago at the sta­dium had no im­pact on last night's game, he said.

‘‘The con­tact area is a big workon for any team . . . we are start­ing to hit our straps.’’

 ??  ?? Tom Don­nelly
Tom Don­nelly

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