Otago clinch Championship playoff berth
Saturday, October 14, 2017 allblacks.com Getty Images
It has been a horror season for Southland and they would have needed a complete form turnaround to test Otago under the roof. They brought plenty of passion and intensity, but it just simply wasn’t enough against an Otago side that were better across the park – and particularly upfront.
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With ball in hand, Southland were committed and probing, but it was in the set-piece where they really struggled with the Razorbacks holding the edge at scrum, line out and maul time.
There was little to separate the sides in the opening fifteen minutes, but once Otago wing Mitchell Scott crossed for a stunning solo try, Otago took a stranglehold on the game.
With their pack holding the advantage, the Otago backline began to challenge the Southland defence and tries to Jona Nareki and Sio Tomkinson stretched the lead out to 22-5 at the break.
Halfback Jonathan Ruru was one of Otago’s best, and laid on the bonus point try early in the second half with a brilliant skip pass to midfielder Tei Walden.
The game opened up in the final 20 minutes as referee Angus Mabey tried hard to contain the increasing niggle between the two sides.
In the end the margin of 43-19 was a fair reflection on what was a dominant display by Otago.
Otago captain Sam Anderson-Heather said: “The recipe was simple today – win with a bonus point to get into the semifinals. I’m really proud of the effort, it wasn’t perfect though so there is a bit to work.”
Otago 43 (Mitchell Scott, Sio Tomkinson, Jona Nareki, Tei Walden, Latu Vaeno, Jonah Aoina tries, Josh Ioane 5 con, pen ) Southland 19 (Lewis Ormond 2, James Schrader tries, Scott Eade con, Greg Dyer con)
FT | @OtagoRugbyTeam book their spot in the Championship semifinals with a bonus point win over @RugbySouthland.#OTAvSOU pic.twitter.com/bG8vJNLsCS— Mitre10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) October 14, 2017
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