Dominant Waikato too good for Otago

Otago's James Lentjes (centre) looks dejected during the Mitre 10 Cup Championship Final against...
Otago's James Lentjes (centre) looks dejected during the Mitre 10 Cup Championship Final against Waikato. Photo: Getty Images
Perhaps it was just one game too many.

After heroic wins the past two weeks, Otago were comprehensively beaten by Waikato in tonight's Mitre 10 Cup Championship final in Hamilton.

The hosts started well at FMG Stadium and ran away with a 36-13 victory after leading 19-6 at the break.

Waikato were completely dominant in the first half.

They controlled 65% of possession and had the better of the field position. That had Otago under constant pressure and as a result the visitors missed 19 first half tackles.

Meanwhile, the majority of the ball Otago were able to salvage was in their own half when they were scrambling to clear.

Waikato's Sevu Reece (centre) celebrates his try with team-mate Quinn Tupaea. Photo: Getty Images
Waikato's Sevu Reece (centre) celebrates his try with team-mate Quinn Tupaea. Photo: Getty Images

Sevu Reece opened the scoring early, strolling over after being put away by Quinn Tupaea, who ran a nice angle to break the line.

Two penalty goals from Josh Ioane got Otago back to 7-6, before Tupaea got on Vilimoni Koroi's outside to score Waikato's second.

Otago continued to battle on defence, but a third try was inevitable and Matt Lansdown crossed to make it 19-6 at halftime.

They came out of the sheds with far more conviction and James Lentjes scored to make it 19-13.

However, Tyler Campbell cancelled that out immediately, running through and scoring after catching the kickoff for Waikato.

Reece scored again, before a Fletcher Smith penalty made it 36-13.

Otago kept trying, but they could not find a way through the swarming Waikato defence.

The loss leaves Otago in the Championship for another year, while Waikato return to the Premiership.

 

 

 

 

 

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