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North Otago’s young guns produced a much improved effort against the pace and power of Mid Canterbury on Saturday at Hinds.
However, the home side came away with a 30-7 victory.
Immediately after the game, North Otago coach Jason Forrest admitted "a week can be a long time for a rugby coach".
"We are getting better week by week," he said.
"That's a no-brainer for us.
"It was good to see the bench; when they came on had a real import.
"That’s really what it’s all about, but we are still not executing satisfactory execution but we are getting better especially in the second half.
"That’s all we can really ask from them.
"Lineouts were better although there was a lack of vision when the ball was run to where the defence was organised instead of looking for space but Oliver Kinzett, Jake Day and Blake Welsh had real impact.
"We hope something has to go our way and when it does we've got to have the confidence to take it when it arises.
"The Mid Canterbury side has some real units in their side. After Saturday’s game we know exactly where we are at."
Mid Canterbury did not waste time putting its first points on the board when North Otago turned over the ball in the first minute.
Midfielder Paovale Sofai broke and right wing Raitube Vasurakuta did the rest for first five-eighth Nathan McCloy to convert.
Vasurakuta added his second try when he raced 80m to score and, in the 20th minute of the half, McCloy kicked a penalty to give his side a 15-0 halftime lead.
Vasurakuta went in for his third try two minutes into the second half but North Otago’s defence held for the next 25 minutes.
Right wing Antonio Misiloi crossed for North Otago and fullback Josh Phipps added the conversion.
In the final 10 minutes, Mid Canterbury fullback Inoke Tonga and No8 Seta Koroitamana touched down for unconverted tries.
North Otago has two more matches — against Mid Canterbury in Oamaru next Saturday and against South Canterbury in Timaru the following Saturday.
- Terry O'Neill