Otago to leave it all on the field

The Otago team in a friendly moment at Forsyth Barr Stadium earlier this week. Photo: Linda...
The Otago team in a friendly moment at Forsyth Barr Stadium earlier this week. Photo: Linda Robertson
This is the crescendo - and Otago is taking that approach.

The Blue and Golds will run out in Hamilton tonight with an attitude of leaving it all out there.

Otago coach Ben Herring said the game was one to throw everything at.

"We want to get excited. Taking the approach that it is going to be the end of the world at 9.15pm so go out there and play like it is," he said.

"You've got two hours left in the world and play as though that is the way you want to go out. Get pretty intense and give everything you have got.

"The approach will get the guys excited and, hopefully, they will embrace it. Put the focus on the game, wanting to play well. We are all fizzed up and raring to go."

Herring said playing in a final such as this - with promotion to the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership at stake - was a rare honour for the players and one they wanted to make the most of.

He was confident the players would not get too overawed and lose their heads in the heat of the battle with the no-tomorrow approach.

Herring was wary of a Waikato side which would be motivated by not only wanting to get back into the top echelon of provincial rugby but also by the loss to Otago of the Ranfurly Shield a couple of weeks ago.

"They are going to have plenty to play for. They are at home, in front of their fans, and the motivation for them is going to be huge."

He said the shield victory might have created something of a hangover in the semifinal last week but that was all left behind now.

The side had a light week on the training paddock but it is asking a lot of the players to go to the well for a third time in as many weeks.

But it has to play for only 80 minutes and except for Liam Coltman and Josh Ioane - who have end-of-year tours to go on - the side will have no excuses to not throw everything at Waikato.

Both teams have built nicely through the season.

Waikato had not won a game for a year but turned that around with six wins in a row mid-season

Otago lost its first two games but have won seven of its past nine games.

The Mooloos were relegated last year and will want to go straight back up. Coach Jono Gibbes is leaving after one season so the side will want to see him off with a victory.

Otago has been in the Championship since the two-division concept started in 2011. It has lost finals in 2012 and 2016 so will be hoping it is third time lucky.

Showers are forecast for this morning in Hamilton, clearing this afternoon.

Otago v Waikato

Hamilton, 7.35pm

Otago: Michael Collins (captain), Mitchell Scott, Matt Faddes, Sio Tomkinson, Vilimoni Koroi, Josh Ioane, Kurt Hammer, Dylan Nel, James Lentjes, Joketani Koroi, Josh Dickson, Sione Misiloi, Hisa Sasagi, Liam Coltman, Jonah Aoina. Reserves: Sekonaia Pole, Tom Hill, Giorgio Bower, Tom Rowe, Naulia Dawai, Slade McDowall, Josh Renton, Matt Whaanga.

Waikato: Matt Lansdown, Tyler Campbell, Quinn Tupaea, Dwayne Sweeney (captain), Sevu Reece, Fletcher Smith, Jack Stratton, Jordan Manihera, Mitch Jacobson, Adam Burn, James Tucker, Laughlan McWhannell, Joshua Iosefa-Scott, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ayden Johnstone. Reserves: Sekope Lopeti-Moli, Toby Smith, Sosaia Fale, Tim Bond, Murray Iti, Kylem O’Donnell, Bailyn Sullivan, Declan O’Donnell.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (Wellington)



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