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The coach was looking for an effort from his side in which everyone contributed and that is exactly what he got.
"That is what we had talked about during the week. If everyone does their job and does it well then that is all we have to do to be in with a real chance," he said.
"Our forwards were huge. Given the conditions that we struck we knew the guys would have to stand up. And you have to take your hat off to guys like Will Tucker, Liam Coltman, Jack Regan — they really worked hard and everyone followed.
"I thought in the first half the guys were superb. But into the second half we had to keep playing. We knew they would come out and give it a good go but we had to play sensible. Keep playing the game."
The side was lucky that it had a solid wind behind it in the first half which dropped around halftime and turned into a cross wind in the second half.
Donnelly said the inside-back pairing of halfback Kayne Hammington and Josh Ioane put the team in the right areas and that was backed up by everyone performing their role.
The field had stood up well as there was a fear it would cut up, after heavy rain on Saturday night in the Taranaki region and Otago had adjusted to playing on the heavy ground, Donnelly said.
Donnelly had high praise for first five-eighth Ioane whom he described as unbelievably good.
Donnelly locked the scrum for Otago in its 2013 Ranfurly Shield victory over Waikato and was also in the side which lost to Hawke’s Bay nine days later.
That experience would help the side how to manage the coming week for what it bound to be a big game against Hawke’s Bay who have had some memorable battles against Otago in recent years.