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Otago won 27-23 in a close game in which neither side could get any ascendancy.
Both sides made plenty of mistakes and ball security was poor throughout the match.
Otago trailed at the break but got ahead with 15 minutes left and held on.
Otago 27 (Dylan Nel, Jona Nareki, Joketani Koroi tries; Josh Ioane 3 con, 2 pen), Northland 23 (Tamati Tua, Jack Debreczeni tries; Debreczeni 3 pen, 2 con). Halftime: 10-7 Northland