Tasman centre Levi Aumua went from hero to villain but his team held on to beat Otago 29-27 in an NPC thriller in Dunedin.

The visitors notched a third straight win and clamber into fourth place in the Premiership while Otago remain third in the Championship after a two-match winning streak was broken.

New signing Aumua proved a central figure in the match, firstly by scoring a contender for individual try of the season as Tasman pulled ahead 22-13 by halftime.

The strapping centre received the ball from a standing start 45m out and remarkably shrugged off seven tacklers to score. A former junior on the NRL books of the Brisbane Broncos, the 23-year-old played in the French Top 14 for Bordeaux Begles before returning home.


Levi then blotted his copybook with a tipping tackle on Adam Wright, which resulted in the Otago No.8 being driven head-first towards the turf. The incident, with 24 minutes remaining, warranted an automatic red card.

Tasman were leading 29-13 at that point but were forced to cling on as Otago created rapid-fire tries to centre Sio Tomkinson and loose forward Sione Teu.

However, they couldn't score again in the closing minutes.

Tasman shot clear early on as winger James Lowe created a try to fullback Will Jordan and then scored himself.

A penalty try after halftime was earned when Otago first five-eighth Josh Ioane was deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball on to prevent a try.

His yellow card was followed soon afterwards by the same punishment to Tasman skipper Alex Ainley, for a professional foul.