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Otago won its final game at the national under-19 tournament on Saturday but it was a case of what might have been.
Otago would be well satisfied with its performance, having beaten Manawatu 17-3 on Saturday to finish fifth.
The side led 7-3 at halftime and pulled away in the second half with another couple of tries. It reflects steady improvement from the side, which has gone from 13th two years ago and 10th last year to fifth this year.
It lost to Wellington on the first day of the tournament in Taupo which was a quarterfinal, and that loss ended its chances of making the top four.
Brayden Laing played well at first five-eighth on Saturday while forwards Jake Russ and Sam Fikken also put in good efforts.
Canterbury won the tournament, beating Auckland in the final 26-17, riding home on a dominant forward effort.
Otago almost beat Canterbury in pool play last month, going down 34-32 after leading 25-7 early in the second half. If Otago had won then, it would have had an easier game on the first day of the tournament in Taupo.
Southland lost to Northland 45-18 to finish last at the tournament.