Rugby: Otago grind out second win

Otago fullback Ben Smith. Photo / Getty Images
Otago fullback Ben Smith. Photo / Getty Images

A dour first half was succeeded by an uninspiring second spell as Otago beat Tasman 13-11 in their ITM Cup match in Nelson today.

The win was just the second for the southerners this season, and finally lifts them off the bottom of the table.

While Tasman dominated the first 40 minutes in almost every aspect, they weren't able to translate that into points on the board and both teams remained scoreless at the break.

The home team had a massive 71 per cent territorial advantage, and 54 per cent of the possession.

Playing with the wind at a bleak Trafalgar Park, Tasman came close on a couple of occasions, their best effort coming in the 33rd minute as wing James Kamana was bundled into touch by the scrambling Otago defence.

But a succession of turnovers, handling errors and poor decision-making from both teams meant they remained without points for 40 minutes.

Otago first five-eighth Glenn Dickson finally broke the deadlock with a penalty seven minutes into the second spell, but Tasman bounced back in the 55th minute with a try to lock Chris Jack.

The two teams then swapped penalties before

Otago finally breached the Tasman line after 70 minutes, Ben Smith slicing through the midfield to set up prop Halani Aulika from five metres out.

A Tasman penalty with five minutes remaining closed the gap to two, but the Otago defence held firm in the closing stages to secure the win.

Otago 13 (Halani Aulika try; Glenn Dickson 2 pen, con) Tasman 11 (Chris Jack try, Steve Alfeld 2 pen). Halftime: 0-0.


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