To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to concede one intercept try may be regarded as a misfortune; to concede two looks like carelessness.

What Lady Bracknell would have thought of having the ball picked off a third time and yet another try run in from the other end of the field is not known, but the word calamity springs to mind.

Such was the lot of the Bay of Plenty Steamers against Otago under the roof in Dunedin on Wednesday night.

Leading 20-14 at halftime, and with the opposition down a man after Otago prop Sioni Misiloi was yellow carded, the Bay – in the space of seven minutes at the start of the second half – had their hearts broken, and likely their Mitre 10 Cup Championship semifinal ambitions too, as the home team ran in two long-range tries and kicked a penalty.


Otago went from six points behind to 11 in front before some of the sparse crowd had returned from getting their halftime deep fries.

"There were lots of good moments for us, but we just made some poor decisions," said head coach Clayton McMillan afterwards.

Things had looked so promising for the Bay in the first 40 minutes. Bailey Simonsson and Kaleb Trask scored tries, the forwards were going really well and forced a penalty try when Otago collapsed a rolling maul. The Steamers had that handy six-point lead.

The start of the second half though was disastrous. The first blow came when Otago midfielder Matt Faddes took a gamble rushing up on defence only metres from his own goal line. A pass from Trask aimed at Mitch Karpik was slightly slow, Faddes swooped, his gamble paying off, and he sprinted 90m despite Karpik's valiant chase.

Despite the setback, Bay of Plenty quickly moved back on attack. Only a minute later they were again close to the line and a pass intended for the backline was flicked on by prop James Lay. But Otago's defensive line speed once more paid dividends. Josh Ioane was in the right place at the right time as the ball fell kindly to him and off he scooted for another seven points.

The Bay did not give up. Tom Crozier scored to close the gap to four, but Otago came back with two more long-range tries. First, there was Faddes after a break from Vilimoni Karoi, and then Karoi himself picking up another loose Steamers pass to run 70m for the third intercept try of the night. Game over.

If Oscar Wilde had been a rugby man, his play might have been called "The Importance of Being Accurate".

There was much to be encouraged about in Dunedin, but the result was another major disappointment.

The forwards were dominant. The scrum was strong, the lineout sound and loose forwards Mitch Karpik and Hoani Matenga were among the best players on the park.

But there were too many messy moments further out.

"Some of those with the bigger numbers on their back might have learnt a few lessons," McMillan says.

This team is better than one which has now lost six matches in succession. But a combination of long-term injuries to key players and too many mistakes surrendering the ball at important times has been the theme of the season.

As they head to Invercargill for Sunday's clash with bottom-placed Southland, the coach wants to instil an important thought in the minds of his players.

"We have to think less about winning and more about the fear of losing. That might sound like the same thing, but it's not."

Oscar Wilde couldn't have put it better.

Otago 45 (Josh Ioane 2, Vilimoni Koroi 2, Matt Faddes 2 tries; Ioane 6 con, pen)
Bay of Plenty 34 (Bailey Simonsson, Kaleb Trask, Tom Crozier, Aaron Carroll tries; penalty try; Trask con, pen; Reece MacDonald con).
HT: 14-20