Bay of Plenty are on the board in this year's national rugby premiership after taking control in the second half at Rotorua International Stadium to beat Otago 31-19.
Bouncing back from their opening loss to Taranaki, The Bay broke a 12-12 halftime deadlock to score three second-half tries to one, loose forwards Sam Cane, Tanerau Latimer and Luke Braid leading the way with superior body position and support play at the breakdowns.
Otago ball-carriers were often isolated and caught too upright going into contact, leading to a host of turnovers and penalties.
The first half was punctuated by indiscipline from both sides that led to both penalties and turnovers.
Neither team seemed able to hang on to the ball long enough to build pressure that could lead to tries, although the home side came the closest to touching down through hard-working lock Cullum Retallick.
As a result territory was evenly split during the opening 40 minutes but Bay of Plenty dominated possession with 61 per cent of the ball, winning the breakdowns 43-20 and getting the majority of the turnovers.
But there was not a lot of continuity and the first spell became a tit-for-tat penalty-kicking affair between Otago 21-year-old Hayden Parker and the Bay's Nick McCashin, each banging over four goals from five attempts.
Bay of Plenty suffered a major blow in losing captain and experienced halfback Jamie Nutbrown just 10 minutes into the game with a dislocated shoulder.
Referee Shaun Elliott lost his patience at the repeated offending early in the second half and when he yellow carded Otago replacement loose forward TJ Ioane it broke the game open.
While Ioane was in the sin-bin Bay of Plenty ran in two tries in six minutes to loosehead prop Tristan Moran and No 8 Luke Braid, the latter a cracking effort with first Lelia Masaga and then Sam Cane making storming runs with the ball in hand for the Bay before second-five Phil Burleigh delayed his pass beautifully to put Braid over beside the posts.
With McCashin converting both tries the home side was suddenly out to 26-12.
With 11 minutes to play Bay of Plenty got their third try, Moran picking up a second in the right corner when he stole the ball back off Otago winger Buxton Popali'i and lunged over to make it 31-12.
Otago managed a consolation try at the end to replacement Tony Ensor after the second of two big runs by lock Paul Grant but it was too little too late and in the end neither side managed a bonus point.
Bay of Plenty 31 (Tristan Moran 2, Luke Braid tries; Nick McCashin 2 conversions, 4 penalty goals)
Otago 19 (Tony Ensor try; Hayden Parker conversion, 4 penalty goals). Halftime 12-12.
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