Strong Spirit defence holds off

Otago Spirit fullback Sheree Hume is about to score, brushing aside the tackle of her opposite,...
Otago Spirit fullback Sheree Hume is about to score, brushing aside the tackle of her opposite, Shaylee Tipiwai, at Logan Park on Saturday. Photo: Gregor Richardson
It was a classic game of two halves when the Otago Spirit beat Hawke’s Bay at Logan Park on Saturday.

Luckily for the home side, its half was better than the visitors’, and it ran out 31-12 winner over the Magpies.

Strangely, the side playing into the wind dominated the game.

Otago came out firing and scored four first-half tries to be up 24-0 at the break, and looking very comfortable.

But Hawke’s Bay did not sit back in the second half and had the majority of the play in the final 40 minutes. It scored two tries but Otago scrambled well on defence and also had its share of attack.

It finally scored a try right at the end, when No8 Tegan Hollows, who had moved into the front row, buried over.

Otago coach Scott Manson was pleased with the victory, which backed up last week’s win over North Harbour.

"The first half was really good, obviously. We came out into the wind and played some goof stuff. For some reason, the sides seemed to be able to pass the ball better, running into the wind," he said.

"We took the chances which came along and that gave us a good lead. They came back well in the second half and looked threatening.

"The defence from us was strong in the second half and we got a few turnovers. I don’t know how high the penalty count was in the second half but it seemed like we conceded a few."

Otago scored its first try after 15 minutes when, after moving the ball to the left, it swung back to the right and hooker Rebecca Todd ran over a couple of defenders to score.

Then, just past the 20-minute mark, a Hawke’s Bay throw-in went wrong and as it came out into the middle of the park, first five-eighth Rosie Kelly ran on to the ball and sprinted 40m to score.

After 30 minutes, Otago got its third try when winger Kiana Warete got on the outside and her speed did the rest.

Sheree Hume competed the scoring in the first half with a real burst and dash down the right.

Hawke’s Bay, which had former Black Ferns halfback Emma Jensen playing, came out well in the second half, and big prop Natalie Cotton scored early on.

But it could not hold on to the ball and had to wait until the last few minutes to score through replacement back Te Maari McGregor.

Best for Otago were Kelly and Hume in the backs, while halfback Trisha Hopcroft was good in everything she did.

Loose forwards Morgan Henderson and Georgia Mason got around the paddock and prop Isla Pringle carried well.


Otago Spirit v Hawke’s Bay
The scores

Otago Spirit    31

Rebecca Todd, Rosie Kelly, Kiana Warete, Sheree Hume, Tegan Hollows tries; Rosie Kelly 3 con

Hawke’s Bay    12

Natalie Cotton, Te Maari McGregor tries; Krysten Cottrell con

Halftime: 24-0

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