Otago edge Taniwha under the roof
Friday, September 7, 2018 allblacks.com Getty Images
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Neither team refused to yield in a physical opening quarter. It took a long range shot from Northland first five-eighth Jack Debreczeni to open the scoring in the 20th minute.
Otago kept a very simple game plan with first five-eighth Josh Ioane plugging the gaps, the midfield employing a crash ball tactic and the big forward pack running one-off from the ruck.
The tactic paid off when powerful loose forward Dylan Nel burst over for the first try of the game in the 27th minute. It didn’t take long for Northland to strike back with the spark coming from Rene Ranger who hit the line at pace to put the Taniwha into Otago’s ’22. The ball was immediately swung out Tamati Tua who finished well in the corner to give Northland the 7-10 halftime lead.
Melbourne Rebels star Jack Debreczeni was superb from the tee and tactically throughout the game but showed his danger with ball in hand early in the second half. The 6 foot 4 tall pivot stepped through the Otago defence close to the line and used his long arms to stretch out and score to extend Northland’s lead to 7-17.
But Otago continued to press on Northland’s line and scored again out wide when Jona Nareki laid on a fine finish with two Northland defenders on him.
Ioane and Debreczeni traded penalties to leave the score delicately balanced at 17-20 to Northland with 17 minutes left on the clock. Otago had the chance to add another three points from in front but opted for a scrum and it paid off when Joketani Koroi barged his way over to grab a 24-20 lead for Otago.
Interestingly, it was the first time all season that Northland had conceded a try in the final 20 minutes of a match.
Ioane and Debreczeni traded penalties again late in the match as the score finished 27-23 to the home side.
Duane Monkley Medal points
3: Dylan Nel
2: Jack Debreczeni
1: Jona Nareki
Otago 27 (Dylan Nel, Jona Nareki, Joketani Koroi tries, Josh Ioane 3 con, 2 pen) Northland 23 (Tamati Tua tries, Jack Debreczeni try, 3 pen, 2 con)
FT | There wasn't much in it but @OtagoRugbyTeam take out the spoils under the roof in Dunedin.#OTAvNOR pic.twitter.com/qtMnGg1bWG— Mitre 10 Cup (@Mitre10Cup) September 7, 2018
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