Little things cost North Otago in loss

Those little things which may seem minor appear to be having a big impact on North Otago.

The home team went down 35-17 to Mid Canterbury in Oamaru on Saturday after the visiting side led 17-3 at the break.

North Otago has lost a ton of experience from last season and the new team is still finding itself at this level.

North Otago coach Jason Forrest admitted after the game it can be frustrating specially over the small things that are committed — the little things.

"But I must admit that there has been an improvement especially among the very inexperienced players in the squad," he said.

"You’ve got to give players the opportunity to understand what the level is you are expected to play in and really this is what this season is really all about. But it takes time.

"We play South Canterbury in Timaru next Saturday and the Hanan Shield is up for grabs but we’ve got to learn pretty quickly, especially on defence.

"A number are getting dragged out of the defence line and too many of the players have not made the gap between club and representative rugby. It’s imperative that the players fill the gap between the two levels."

North Otago fullback Josh Phipps gave North Otago a 3-0 lead with a penalty after 15 minutes but four minutes later Mid Canterbury first five-eighth Nathan McCloy levelled the score with a penalty.

McCloy put his side into a 10-3 lead with a try and conversion and, four minutes from halftime, a loose pass out wide was intercepted by left winger Tait Chisman who outpaced the defence with a 50m break to score. The McCloy conversion gave his side a handy lead at the break.

North Otago lock Josh Hayward touched down for Phipps to convert giving Mid Canterbury a 20-10 lead. A McCloy penalty in the 58th minute took his side out to a 23-10 lead.

In the final quarter, the visiting team added tries to prop Adam Williamson and halfback Tyler Blackburn, one of which was converted by replacement Harvey Blyth,while North Otago’s Jack Kelly finished off a 40m drive for Phipps to convert.

 - Terry O'Neill

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