Slow start, errors prove costly for Otago

Wellington flanker Du’Plessis Kirifi is tackled by Tomkinson (left) and centre Matt Faddes during...
Wellington flanker Du’Plessis Kirifi is tackled by Tomkinson (left) and centre Matt Faddes during their Mitre 10 Cup Otago second five-eighth Sio match in Wellington yesterday. Photo: Getty Images
Otago was slow out of the blocks and that came back to haunt it, losing to Wellington in the capital yesterday.

In the opening round of the Mitre 10 Cup, Wellington came out on top 34-16 after it led 17-6 at the break.

Otago will be kicking itself for its start when Wellington left winger Wes Goosen scored two tries in the opening seven minutes.

That meant Otago was chasing the game for more than 70 minutes.It had chances but too many errors at just the wrong time led to its demise.

Against quality opposition, any chances that come along have to be seized upon and Otago was not ruthless enough when  opportunity presented itself.

That is understandable in the first game of the season and both sides made plenty of mistakes.

Otago has some promise in the side — its scrum was solid and after early wobbles the lineout came good. It also has some exciting backs who have the ability to make the break and beat a man.

But all the promise in the world does not mean much if it does not equate to points on the board.

Otago coach Ben Herring said the team was disappointed with the start, which cost it the game.

"It was a horrendous start, really. What could go wrong did go wrong for us. The lineout was wonky, we couldn’t hold on to the ball and they punished us" he said.

"That meant we were chasing the game and that led to us kind of forcing things when we should have been a bit more conservative. Banging it up in the forwards and then unleash the backs.

"It felt to us that we lost the game rather then they won it."

Herring said Wellington showed what to do when opportunities came along and Otago had to be sharper in this area.

Goosen’s tries came from Wellington getting the ball wide and Otago ran out of defenders.

Vilimoni Koroi made a nice break in the opening minute but decided not to pass and, when he was tackled, Wellington grabbed the ball and poured down the field for Goosen to score his first try. His second came from a nice break by Vaea Fifita.

Otago had chances in the first half but was not accurate enough.It grabbed more ball in the second 40 minutes but it could score only one try.

Winger Jona Nareki was over just before the hour mark but his pass from Koroi was correctly ruled forward.

Otago finally scored a five-pointer when replacement midfielder Matt Whannga found some space on the outside and, as he was about to be pushed out, he threw in a fine pass for replacement halfback Kurt Hammer to score.

Otago was back to 27-16  just past the hour mark and needed to score next. But it could not control the ball from the kick-off and that handed the advantage to Wellington.

Lively Wellington winger Malo Tuitama scored two tries to seal the win for his team. Best for Otago were Koroi and Sio Tomkinson in the backs, while up front, prop Aki Seiuli was abrasive and flanker Slade McDowall worked hard.In other results, Manawatu beat Waikato 24-19, Auckland downed Counties-Manukau 23-19 and Bay of Plenty upset Taranaki 30-10. 


Mitre 10 Cup
The scores

Wellington    34

Wes Goosen 2, Malo Tuitama 2 tries; Jackson Garden-Bachop 4 con, 2 pen

Otago    16

Kurt Hammer try; Finn Strawbridge 3 pen; Sio Tomkinson con

Halftime: 17-6

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