Waikato ruin Otago party


Saturday, October 8, 2005    Photosport

Outscored three tries to one, Otago now remain winless at Waikato Stadium since 1995. The loss also ensured the Southern men failed to secure an Air New Zealand NPC home semifinal.

Earlier, going forward to make driving tackles, the homeside’s first impact in this match was on defence.

That didn’t last long - sparking from the base of rucks and mauls, Waikato halfback Byron Kelleher led his team into the opposition 22 before sending a beautiful ball shortside. Captain Steven Bates did the rest, breaking through for fullback Sosene Anesi to dot down inches inside the corner flag.

First-five Stephen Donald’s sideline conversion made it 7-0 in the 5th minute.

Pinned inside their own half by the strong breeze, the points nevertheless stung Otago into action. Yet time and time again, tenacious Waikato defence shut down any promising phases.

Indeed, as the wind played havoc with both teams’ lineouts, the next points did not come until the 37th minute when Otago No 10 Nick Evans put his team on the board with his first penalty.

Finally making something of Waikato’s whopping 77% territorial dominance in the first spell, Donald replied with his second three-pointer moments before the break.

Halftime score: 10-3 Waikato

Otago started the second 40 in promising fashion, but thanks again to uncompromising play by No 8 Bates, Waikato extended their lead to fourteen when Donald crossed in the 48th minute.

Evans supplied Otago's response shortly afterwards with another penalty... and again Donald answered in kind.

20-6 Waikato.

As torrential rain arrived and the match entered its fourth quarter, Otago replacement Jason Shoemark gave his side some hope with a 66th minute try built on the back of a 22m break by flanker and captain Craig Newby.

It wasn't to be.

Fittingly, in his 50th appearance in Mooloo colours, second-five David Hill sealed the win with a well-taken try two minutes from time.

Final score: 25-13 Waikato


Waikato. Tries: Sosene Anesi, Stephen Donald, David Hill. Conversions: Donald (2). Penalties: Donald (2).
Otago. Tries: Jason Shoemark. Conversions: Nick Evans. Penalties: Evans (2).

Your Province. Your Competition. Air New Zealand NPC