It's hallelujah for Northland rugby fans as their team defied all odds to reach the final of the Mitre 10 Championship after beating Otago tonight.
A strong defensive effort, coupled with smart attacking moves, gave the visitors a deserved 32-19 victory at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
It was sweet revenge for the Taniwha after the hosts came away with a big win over Northland just a few weeks ago.
Northland ramped up the pressure in the final quarter and came away with tries to skipper Jordan Olsen and halfback Sam Nock, who limped off the field injured after he dotted down for the last try of the pulsating match.
Both sides produced flashes of brilliance but it was Northland that raced to a commanding 10-0 lead inside the first quarter.
Winger Jone Macilai backed himself on the left flank after swatting away Michael Collins before stepping on the inside and heading to the tryline.
But it was Otago that went to the sheds, leading 12-10 after Josh Timu scored following a lineout drive.
The son of dual New Zealand international John Timu showed good strength by dragging Taniwha defenders Kara Pryor, Nock, and Jonny Cooper to the tryline.
Evergreen Nasi Manu took the field for Otago in the 55th minute to add more bite to their attack but Northland wouldn't give an inch.
The Taniwha will meet the winner of tomorrow's clash between Hawke's Bay and Taranaki in the Championship final next weekend.
- Northern Advocate
Northland 32 (Jone Macilai, Jordan Olsen, Sam Nock, Matt Matich tries; Johnny Cooper con, 2 pens; Wiseguy Faiane 2 cons)
Otago 19 (Jona Nareki, Josh Timu, Sio Tomkinson tries; Josh Ioane 2 cons)
Here's how the match unfolded: