Spirit simply outclassed by Canterbury

Ellis Doyle
Ellis Doyle
That was a tough day.

The Otago Spirit was completely played off the park in Christchurch on Saturday.

Canterbury piled on the points to win 85-10 in their Farah Palmer Cup match.

There was no lack of effort from the Spirit, Canterbury was just far too good.

The three-time Premiership-defending champion was clinical in everything it did.

Three tries in the first 10 minutes set the tone, while three in the final five minutes perhaps made the margin a little larger than it should have been.

It was comprehensive nonetheless, though.

Cindy Nelles opened the scoring after just one minute, the lock hitting a gap in the line and running through to the line.

Amy Rule crashed over after a handful of pick-and-goes four minutes later, before Angie Sisifa scored off a lineout drive to make it 21-0 after 10 minutes.

Holding on to the ball proved an issue for Otago.

It struggled to build phases, mistakes creeping into its game when it attempted to launch an attack.

That left it having to defend against a rampant Canterbury attack which made full use of its possession.

Terauoriwa Gapper and Martha Lolohea both scored out wide to make it 33-0, before a penalty try from a collapsed lineout drive made it 40.

To compound the Spirit’s problems, prop Eilis Doyle was shown a yellow card after the collapse.

Grace Brooker struck again quickly for Canterbury, before Otago was finally able to build some pressure just before halftime.

With Doyle in the sin bin and fellow prop Isla Pringle having left with injury, scrums went to golden oldies for 10 minutes, negating Canterbury’s advantage in that area.

The Spirit made full use of that, holding the ball well in the Canterbury 22 and forcing it into several penalties.

That was rewarded when first five-eighth Rosie Kelly stepped Gapper down the blindside from a scrum to
allow the Spirit to peg one back.

Canterbury managed two more tries early in the second half, before Otago showed some fight through the middle to stop the bleeding.

It managed another itself, centre Amy du Plessis crossing with 10 minutes remaining to make it 64-10.

However, Canterbury added three tries in the final four minutes — two to captain Alana Bremner — to cap a dominant display.


 

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