Otago trounce Sth Canty
South Canterbury were taught a lesson in rugby by the Otago Sassenachs last night, going down 89-0 at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
Playing at a quicker pace, Otago ran in 13 tries, several from long range, with their first five, Peter Breen, landing 11 conversions, including one by drop kick.
South Canterbury tried to get into the game when they had the ball but were met by a wall of solid defence.
At times they did look OK and even tried a couple of backline moves but couldn't penetrate.
Their scrum held up too and only gave away one tighthead but the pack struggled at lineouts and the hosts were far better at the breakdown, turning over a lot of ball when individual players got isolated.
Otago got off to a roaring start and after 10 minutes had scored two tries, blown two. South Canterbury first five Mark Tutton had saved one with a desperate tackle.
South Canterbury lost their best opportunity midway through the first half when lock Luke Brice opted to go on his own with prop Afala Tailege unmarked outside him.
Wing Sekope Maea made a good break that offered a chance after several phases. South Canterbury goalkicker Willie Wright also missed two chances in the first half but in the end it didn't matter.
By halftime Otago were up 40-0.
Every time Otago got the ball wide from all over the paddock they seemed to score because South Canterbury defence was stretched.
South Canterbury coach Chester Scott gave everyone a run, so some combinations struggled, especially in the second half.
On the back foot it was also hard to gain any momentum but loose forwards Eric Smith and Sam Vea tried hard while No 8 Joeli Kotobalavu defended bravely.
In the first half, centre Fa'aitu Tuamoheloa tried to create some opportunities but was shut down by good defence swarming defence.
Tutton also played well but was given a yellow card for slapping the ball down when Otago were on attack so cooled his heels in the sin bin for 10 minutes, which didn't help his side.
Maea moved into halfback in the second half and added some spark but was often floundering for support.
For Otago fullback Tony Ensor was classy when he entered the backline and grabbed three tries.
Japanese international Tanaka Fumiaki was excellent at halfback and distributed the ball well while Breen also had a very tidy game, giving the ball to his eager outside backs.
The best of the Otago pack was their No 7 Adam Hill who secured several turnovers and popped up everywhere in support.
The Otago Boys' High School halfback Josh Renton also got on midway through the second half and played well.
In the end the Sassaenachs were too big, too strong and just too quick.
Scott said the pace of the game was a wake-up call for his side.
"They saw what rugby is like at the next level."
His side also panicked a bit in the first half which didn't help.
"We didn't give ourselves the time to get set and that hurt us. If we were more patient we may not have given them so many opportunities.
"Also we were under pressure at the set pieces, but the scrum did OK considering the likes of front rowers Aaron McCall and Duke Loe were called up from the development squad and stood up, along with Matthew Stewart.
"I thought Tutton played well and tried to get us going."
Scott said while disappointed the score had blown out, the chance to play Otago in the Forsyth Barr Stadium was something many of his team would remember as it didn't come about very often.
With almost 23,000 seats, the 400 spectators who turned up at the stadium made little impact, but it was a great opportunity to play in a world-class facility.