Otago douse Tasman's early fire in Dunedin
Otago have climbed to second on the NPC championship ladder after overcoming a frenetic first half showing from Tasman to win 39-13 in Dunedin yesterday.
It was the second win in six days for Tony Brown's resurgent Razorbacks, who earlier pummelled North Harbour 54-25.
After trailing 13-10 at halftime, Otago came out with new-found intensity and scored four second-half tries.
Otago grabbed their first lead of the game 25 seconds into the second half after a quick tap and kick through from halfback Fumiaki Tanaka. Fullback Tony Ensor regathered the ball before right wing Marshall Suckling scored. Hayden Parker made no mistake with the conversion from the touchline to put his side up 17-13.
Suckling was over again just six minutes later after good work again from Tanaka. The classy Japanese halfback made a quick dart, with Glenn Dickson then flinging a long ball to Jayden Spence, who fed Suckling.
Another Parker penalty after 57 minutes extended Otago's lead to 27-13.
Otago sealed the win with a fourth try bonus point five minutes from fulltime when Tony Ensor intercepted a pass from Robbie Malneek.
Replacement back Peter Breen rounded off a pleasing afternoon for the blue-and-golds with a try right on the stroke of fulltime.
Tasman made most of the play in the first half, dominating possession and territory.
Tasman showed their intent early, scoring a contender for the try of the season, after just 30 seconds.
The Makos ran the ball out of their own 22, with fullback Tom Marshall moving the ball to potent Australian wing Peter Betham, who dashed down the right touchline. Betham fed the ball back inside to Marshall, who found the support of skipper Andrew Goodman to dot down.
Wing Malneek went close to adding to Tasman's account just moments after Goodman's try, but he was bundled out close to the left corner flag.
Otago began to get into the game and got on the board through a penalty to first five-eighth Parker in the 16th minute.
Tasman played the first half at a frenetic pace and created several line breaks, with Betham one of the chief creators.
The visitors again punished Otago when Betham was given too much room to roam.
He managed to get the pass back to Malneek, who produced a simple draw and pass to put away first-five Hayden Cripps for a try.
Otago hauled themselves back into the game just before halftime with Spence getting over in the left corner following an excellent break from Buxton Popoali'i, before Dickson again played the role of provider.
Otago's next game is against Hawke's Bay in Napier on Saturday, while Tasman play Waikato on Thursday in Hamilton.
Otago 39 (Marshall Suckling 2, Jayden Spence, Tony Ensor, Peter Breen tries; Hayden Parker 4 con, 2 pen) Tasman 13 (Andrew Goodman, Hayden Cripps tries; Cripps pen). Halftime: Tasman 13-10.
The Southland Times