Faddes’ hat-trick ends Auckland’s winning run

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Friday, September 28, 2018    Getty Images

It had been eight years since Otago had tasted victory at Eden Park and it showed how desperate they were to break that record when they gained possession with four minutes to play and leading by five points.


Otago set about winding down the clock with one off runners creating ruck after ruck as the clock wound down. It seemed like a long time to kill off the ball but looked like it had worked as the clock approached 80 minutes.

But on the stroke of fulltime, Otago conceded a penalty and Auckland kicked deep into the Otago half and went on a three-minute assault on the Otago line.

Otago’s defence had been accurate and committed throughout the game and didn’t budge in extra-time until Auckland spilled the ball and Otago had the victory.

The win was crucial to Otago’s hopes of securing a home play-off in the Championship as they leap-frogged Northland into third place.

Auckland bagged two bonus points which keeps them at the top of the Premiership ledger.

One of the main attractions to this game was the exciting speedsters in both teams and they were all on show in the first half with sevens stars Vilimoni Koroi and Jona Nareki scoring for Otago. Powerful mid-fielder Tumua Manu grabbed a first-half double for Auckland with Salesi Rayasi and Jacob Umaga constantly troubling the Otago defence.

The first half was closed out with a Matt Faddes try to close Auckland’s lead to 19-17.

Matt Faddes picked up two more tries in the second half to stretch Otago to a commanding 19-31 lead with 20 minutes to play.

Faddes’ third try was the best of them all as Josh Ioane expertly punched the ball over the top of Auckland’s defence where Faddes pounced and beat the defence to the line.

Akira Ioane showed his skill from the back of the scrum in the 70th minute to set up a grandstand finish with the score at 26-31.

But there was to be no more twists in the game as Otago clung on for a win that will give them real belief they can lift the Championship this year.

Duane Monkley Medal points:

3: Matt Faddes
2: Malani Matavao
1: Jacob Umaga

Auckland 26 (Tumua Manu 2, Dalton Papalii, Akira Ioane tries, Harry Plummer 3 con) Otago 31 (Vilmoni Koroi, Jona Nareki, Matt Faddes 3 tries, Josh Ioane 3 con)
HT: 19-17