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22nd of October 2018


Otago condemn neighbours Southland to 16th consecutive loss

Otago's Joketani Koroi eyes up a couple of Southland defenders.


Otago's Joketani Koroi eyes up a couple of Southland defenders.

Not even the oldest provincial rivalry in the country could pump some life into the Southland Stags. 

Otago dispatched them 43-24 in Invercargill on Saturday afternoon, their 150th scalp against their neighbours in 242 matches since 1887. 

The bonus point win was also the blue and golds' fifth straight win against the Stags, who turned in an error-ridden performance in front of a decent crowd at Rugby Park. 

Otago loose forward Naulia Dawai put in a typically powerful performance against Southland in Invercargill on Sunday.


Otago loose forward Naulia Dawai put in a typically powerful performance against Southland in Invercargill on Sunday.

You have to give credit to their fans for showing up. After all, their side has now dropped 16 consecutive matches and almost two years have been and gone since they won a match.

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Nobody could blame them for copying fans of the struggling Cleveland Browns, who have been known to show up at NFL games and cover their heads with paper bags. 

Otago, who have now won three straight after an 0-2 start, were simply in a different class, outscoring their opponents seven tries to three.

They had little trouble breaching the hosts as they ran out to a 24-3 halftime lead on the back of a fine performance by centre Matt Faddes. 

Otago first-five Josh Ioane also put in a quality performance - encouraging signs for Highlanders head coach Aaron Mauger ahead of next year's Super Rugby campaign. 

Faddes, having struggled for form with the Highlanders this year, scored one of Otago's seven tries, played a hand in two others, and was a constant nuisance alongside Sio Tomkinson in the midfield. 

His 23rd minute five-pointer, after he made five defenders miss on a weaving 35 metre dash, was Otago's third in the space of six minutes, and gave them a healthy 19-0 lead after a dull start to the match. 

Wings Mitch Scott (three) and Jona Nareki (two) combined for five tries, with Scott nabbing his second five minutes after the halftime break to increase his team's lead to 31-3. 

Southland's sloppy handling blew a bunch of opportunities in the first half, including two promising raids which had them camped on Otago's line.

There was also an attacking lineout in the opening two minutes, but that opportunity was blown after hooker Flynn Thomas' throw sailed beyond all his jumpers. 

Southland, having roped together a mountain of phases in Otago's 22, finally crossed the try-line in the 54th minute, when tighthead prop Morgan Mitchell crashed over from close range.

Lock Maanaki Selby-Rickit and wing Isaac Te Tamaki also got on the board with late consolation tries. 

It wasn't all good news for Otago, however, particularly with a home match against Canterbury looming next weekend. 

Already without prop Aki Seiuli (knee) for the rest of the season, they lost two more front rowers to injury during the match. 

Donald Brighouse failed an HIA early in the second half, before Hisa Sasagi limped off in the 57th minute. No 8 Dylan Nel (shoulder) also failed to finish the fixture. 

​Otago 43 (Mitchell Scott 3, Jona Nareki 2, Matt Faddes, Jonah Aoina tries; Josh Ioane 4 con) Southland 24 (Morgan Mitchell, Maanaki Selby-Rickit, Isaac Te Tamaki tries; James Wilson pen, 3 con ) HT: 24-3


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