Otago runs riot in Palmy

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Saturday, September 1, 2018    Campbell Burnes    Getty Images

This was a vital five points for Otago, winless after its opening two weeks. Ben Herring’s charges, who were threatening in the first half, clicked into gear in devastating fashion, putting on 36 unanswered points. In fact, the Razorbacks scored a vital try on the stroke of halftime, to flanker – and player of the match – Naulia Dawai off a sizzling Jona Nareki break, so the final tally was 43 unanswered points.

The first spell was full of action, but the lineouts and some of the kicking were messy. It was the home side, however, which controlled much of the play, despite Otago No 8 Dylan Nel opening the scoring to finish a movement which featured several pairs of hands.


Turbos centre Rob Thompson and fullback Junior Laloifi were hard to contain and both crossed for tries. Thompson’s came from an inside ball by first five Jade Te Rure, who later had to leave the field with what looked a serious elbow or shoulder injury.

Laloifi’s try came straight after the kickoff for that try and started with another Thompson bust. Prop Faalelei Sione powered over from close range and Manawatu was 17-7 to the good.

Otago was profligate with early possession and prop Hisa Sasagi losing the ball over the line seemed to sum up their disjointed first half output. But it rediscovered its mojo with Dawai’s try, which had its genesis in another scrappy lineout.
Thereafter, Otago was a different side, bolstered by the injection of All Blacks hooker Liam Coltman. The pack started to dominate at the breakdown and at the set phases and the result was five tries in the second spell.

Fullback Michael Collins scored the first of them after a superb build-up, highlighted by a Vili Koroi break. Dawai gave a skilful offload, pushing his hands through the attempted tackle.

Second five Matt Whaanga ran a nice line off to score his try. Prop Donald Brighouse finished an opportunist try off a charge down, Nareki pulled a spin move for his well-deserved try, and halfback replacement Melani Matavao put the icing on a very tasty cake for the visitors.

Manawatu, after some work on the drawing board, travels to Christchurch to face Canterbury next Thursday, while Otago hosts Northland on Friday night.

Otago 50
(Dylan Nel, Naulia Dawai, Michael Collins, Matt Whaanga, Donald Brighouse, Jona Nareki, Melani Matavao tries; Josh Ioane 6 con, pen) Manawatu 17 (Rob Thompson, Junior Laloifi, Faalelei Sione tries; Jade Te Rure con) HT: 17-14 Manawatu