Otago thrash record book against Hawke's Bay

Getty Images

Sunday, September 10, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Taking advantage of miscommunication in the home side, especially in the lineout where they failed to complete a win of their own throughout the game, Otago also had fullback Fletcher Smith score 34 points from three tries, eight conversions and a penalty goal. That surpassed the 32 points scored by Greg Cooper in 1991 while the 43-point margin broke the 39 points created in 1989.
Hamstrung by injuries, Hawke's Bay had a lack of depth exposed by an Otago side which scored its four-try bonus point within 26 minutes of the start.

Otago hit the road running to take advantage of weak Hawke's Bay defence, poor lineout control and inaccuracy to a 31-0 lead after 26 minutes. The first two tries, to lock Joshua Furno ,after seven minutes, and flanker Dillon Hunt three minutes later came from lineout steals.

A third was claimed from a mid-field turnover which saw wing Jona Nareki run into the line outside the first receiver to take a huge gap and then feed second five-eighths Sio Tomkinson in after 18 minutes.

To compound the home pain, after home first five-eighths Tiaan Falcon was pulled from the field for Dan Snee, Otago won a scrum feed which saw halfback Josh Renton race on the blind, unchallenged, before switching a reverse pass to Smith who scored and then added the conversion.

Taking their feet off the Hawke's Bay throat allowed a breath of life and wing Jonah Lowe revived the home effort when running back an Otago clearing kick. Flanker Lucas Goodin picked the ball from the ruck and ploughed ahead. Hawke's Bay sensed their chance and moved the ball wide where Lowe had the satisfaction of completing the move with a try.

Having gone to the break at 7-31 down, a mistake at the re-start when failing to control the ball, allowed Otago to set the scene once again and when scrum pressure was applied out from the Hawke's Bay line, Otago employed a lineout to mount a driving maul. While it took some time to get moving, when it did Furno was in for his second.

The lineout produced another try when replacement hooker Sekonaia Pole crossed in the 58th minute while Smith's remarkable points haul was extended with his second try and inevitable conversion.

There was another try for Hawke's Bay after some rumbles to the line by the forwards and it was No.8 Marino Mikaele Tu'u who scored and some consolation when replacement halfback Ellery Wilson scored a third.

But in attempting to gain a four-try bonus point and throwing caution to the wind in their own 22m area as the clock wound down, Hawke's Bay turned the ball over and as it squired out the side of the breakdown Smith received the ball and was able to run 25m unchallenged along the sideline to then land the conversion to claim his, and Otago's, record.

Scorers: Hawke's Bay 21 (Jonah Lowe, Marino Mikaele Tu'u, Ellery Wilson tries; Dan Snee 3 con) Otago 64 (Joshua Furno 2, Dillon Hunt, Patelesio Tomkinson, Fletcher Smith 3, Sekonaia Pole, Aki Seiuli tries; Smith 8 con, pen). HT: 7-31