Breen’s boot gets Taniwha home against Otago
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
Northland’s win was set up in a brilliant opening 40 minutes where they made regular inroads into the Otago half and kept the score ticking over through Breen’s sublime boot.
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The midfield combination of Rene Ranger and Jack Goodhue were a constant threat and created opportunities for impressive wing Solomon Alaimalo who scored the game’s opening try in the 27th minute. It was counter-attacking rugby at its best as Northland snuffed out a promising Otago attack and went 80 metres to score.
Otago were under constant pressure from Northland’s swarming attack and powerful forward runners and were reduced to 14 men late in the half when James Lentjes was shown a yellow card.
Northland made Otago pay early in the second half when Ranger sparked the Taniwha once again to set up a try for Jone Macilai.
At 26-6 down, Otago were restored to fifteen men but needed a big turnaround to get back into the game.
Their revival began when replacement halfback Jonathan Ruru put a clever kick in behind the defence for first five Fletcher Smith to score.
Things went from bad to worse for the Taniwha when flanker Kara Pryor was yellow carded for tackling a player without the ball in the 70th minute. Fletcher Smith knocked over the penalty to make it 29-23 with ten minutes to play and all the momentum with Otago.
Northland showed great grit in the closing stages to work their way into the Otago half through old fashioned forward rumbling. Eventually Otago’s frustration boiled over and a penalty was conceded in kicking range. Peter Breen landed the shot to extend the lead beyond seven and put the game out of reach of Otago.
The southerners did not leave Whangarei empty-handed though. A Jona Nareki try in extra time secured a bonus point and meant that Northland and Otago sit second equal on the Championship ladder with 20 points each.
Northland 32 (Solomon Alaimalo, Jone Macilai tries, Peter Breen 6 pen, 2 con) Otago 30 (Vilimoni Koroi, Jona Nareki tries, Fletcher Smith try, 3 pen, 3 con)
FT | @RugbyNorthland cling on for a famous win over @OtagoRugbyTeam in Whangarei!#NORvOTA pic.twitter.com/3gZIdYpxTM— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) September 27, 2017
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