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The home side rallied in the second half with three converted tries.
But Otago can feel content with its 28-21 win in its last hit out before its National Provincial Championship season opener against Southland in Dunedin, on August 7.
Otago scored early through fullback Sam Gilbert.
Josh Dickson and Jona Nareki helped set up the try with solid carries.
Nareki was at his elusive best and got himself on the score sheet with a wonderful run to the line.
Powerful No8 Dylan Nel had a busy game as well. He always carries hard and got across for a five-pointer.
Fellow loosie James Lentjes got in the boot of a lineout drive and drove over.
Otago led 28-0 at the break and had dominated territory.
When Canterbury did manage to press deep into Otago territory, it was met with some strong defence.
But momentum swung in the second 40 minutes.
Tries to Isaiah Punivai, Manasa Mataele and Dan Fransen set up a tight finish.
The win almost slipped away late when Canterbury regathered a chip kick but was ruled offside.
Fransen was a livewire from fullback and prop Tamaiti Williams made an impact when he came on for Canterbury.
Otago’s scrum started back-pedalling and that will be an area where coach Tom Donnelly will want to see some improvement.