‘Hiding’ not necessarily bad thing for side before playoffs

Ben Herring
Ben Herring
Otago coach Ben Herring described his side’s 47-21 loss to Tasman as a "hiding".

But despite the heavy defeat there were some positive elements to emerge from the match at Forsyth Barr Stadium yesterday.

The team showed sparkle out wide but struggled in the set pieces and that was where the biggest difference was.

"They are a very good side and showed it today," Herring said.

"We certainly struggled in a couple of areas but I thought that offered us clarity going forward with a few selections and stuff.

"Our set piece struggled a lot in that first half and the flow-on effect is that you lose gain-line and your general play suffers from that."

The win lifted Tasman to the top of the Premiership, while Otago remains safely ensconced in the top four of the Championship.

"While it was a hiding, really, it is not a bad thing that we have had a loss like this before we go into the [playoffs].

"We’ll talk that up and use it as a really motivating point and hopefully we’ll get the right response."

It was Otago’s third game in nine days, so Herring went to the bench during the halftime break and got the energy he was looking for.

"A few boys stuck up their hand in that second half and brought a bit of intent, which was pleasing.

"The heart was good. We were waving the blue and gold flag pretty strongly against good opposition.

"I think Joketani Koroi stood up when he came on at lock and was tough around the edges with his carries and cleans. It was excellent to see."

The game was also an opportunity to see what Vilimoni Koroi had to offer at first five-eighth and he injected some spark at pivot.

Midfielder Matt Whaanga cried off with a leg injury 28 minutes into the game. That appears to be the only new injury concern heading into the Ranfurly Shield challenge against Waikato on Saturday.

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