Otago make changes for Northland clash

Mitchell Scott
Mitchell Scott
Otago has made two changes to the starting line-up for its critical match with Northland in Dunedin on Friday night.

Mitchell Scott will get the start on the right wing, with the elusive Vilimoni Koroi moving to the bench.

The other change is in the front row where Donald Brighouse replaces Hisa Sasagi as the starting tighthead prop.

In the only other change, hooker Ricky Jackson comes on to the bench for All Blacks back-up rake Liam Coltman.

Scott will be making his first start this season after being held back by a hamstring complaint.

Brighouse spent the back half of the Super Rugby season with the Crusaders and gets an opportunity to impress from the whistle.

Coltman is in camp with the All Blacks, so was unavailable.

Otago coach Ben Herring could not be reached for comment but he was always unlikely to make too many changes, given his side found some superb form.

Otago scored 36 unanswered second-half points during the 50-17 win against Manawatu last week.

The decision to drop Koroi to the bench may raise a few eyebrows. The outside back has been in sparkling form and was part of a dangerous back three for Otago.

Otago (six points) is in third place in the Championship with two losses and a win.

Northland has the same record but is back in fourth spot with five points.

The Taniwha have had a difficult start to the season with three consecutive games against Premiership teams.

Most were expecting Northland to fold against Taranaki in Whangarei on Sunday but it stayed in touch and Matt Wright drilled a penalty on fulltime to seal a dramatic 18-17 win.

Northland had 75% of the possession in the second half but struggled to do much with it.

But with former All Black Rene Ranger in the midfield, the visitors are capable to putting together some dangerous plays.

Meanwhile, Northland right winger Jordan Hyland will have to be on guard. His opposite, Jona Nareki, has been in wonderful touch.

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