Rugby: Shield returns to Otago

Otago celebrate in the changing room after winning the round two ITM Cup Ranfurly Shield match between Waikato and Otago at Waikato Stadium. Photo by Getty
Otago celebrate in the changing room after winning the round two ITM Cup Ranfurly Shield match between Waikato and Otago at Waikato Stadium. Photo by Getty

The hurt is over. Indeed, it's been so long since Otago have held the Ranfurly Shield, they had probably got beyond the pain stage.

But triumph they did, battered and bruised in a thriller, lifting the log with a 26-19 victory over Waikato in Hamilton, in a game that had major controversy.

It is 56 years since Otago held the shield, and it has lost a lot of its old lustre in that time. But never mind. The long wait is over, and a year of Super 15 pain for the southerners has also been eased, if very slightly. Among the heroes was Hayden Parker, who scored 21 points.

In the 63rd minute, replacement forward TJ Ioane, who had made a big difference, skidded over the line from a scrum near the Waikato line and Otago had a seven point lead they maintained. Otago had to withstand a series of attacks after the final hooter, and the players danced and hugged in jubilation as the ball was pumped into touch.

Tony Brown's Otago had been so close to a tremendous position at halftime but instead found themselves with an extremely lucky 16-13 lead at the break.

Down 16-6 and looking under pressure, Waikato responded with a fabulous set move try in the 38th minute, centre Savenaca Tokula getting outside his opposite Michael Collins, and Tim Mikkelson finishing it off.

Similar work got Trent Renata over the line on halftime, but a harsh, almost inexplicable video call ruled the try out for a forward pass. It was a wonder that referee Glen Jackson even went to the fourth official.

The first half was stacked with clever endeavour punctuated by a couple of superb attacks, the first bringing Otago a 26th minute try to Parker.

Gareth Evans' breakdown expertise delivered the ball deep in his half, fellow loosie Lee Allan made a fabulous charge, Parker kicked cleverly, and the No 10 then finished off.

Parker, who nailed all his goals, certainly did all he could to write himself into Otago rugby folklore.

Controversy included Waikato lock Brian Alainu'uese's ridiculous late hit on fullback Tony Ensor which enabled Parker to land a key goal.


Otago 26 (Hayden Parker, TJ Ioane tries; Parker 4 pen, 2 con) Waikato 19 (Tim Mikkelson try, Trent Renata 4 pen, con). HT: 16-13.


- by Chris Rattue

 

congratulations and....more.

Congratulations to the team and to the fans for whom this all matters. May the euphoria of the win be an impetus for Otago rugby to do the right thing and help make a real financial contribution to paying off the stadium debt faster. Then we can all celebrate more wholeheartedly.

The Shield

The crowd for the Shield at Waikato Stadium was very small, I guess the locals thought it was unlikely they would lose and stayed home. The ITM Cup crowds up north are pitiful to say the least. I think the regions like Otago will embrace the Shield and turn up to watch it get defended. Well done Otago, the stadium sure needs you to succeed.

Yes!

All the years of disappointment have melted away. Thank you boys, you have made us very happy.

Wahoo at last

This makes up for being at the Auckland final game when I was with my mate and his wife and his dad who was an Auckland referee who took us back into the referees club at Eden park after the game. I had already been abused by an older Auckland fan when I went to the toilet then when I got back to the room the first person who came over to our table was that infamous South Canterbury ref who had the game that day. Luckily I had not seen any replays so was quite civil to him. So tonight is great. I was only two years old last time we had the shield.

Yes!!!!!

Yes.

Yes.

And Yes.

Legend Brownie!

At long last

Stunning, At long last.

Now, don't accept any challenges until 2014.

Let's hang onto it.

The Shield is finally back in its rightful home !

God’s in His heaven
All’s right with the world!"

(Robert Browning)

Awesome

Thank you boys. God bless the Otago Rugby team. I have waited all 36 years of my life for this. Yes!!!!!