Too many mistakes: Otago crashes out of cup contention

Otago put on its worst effort of the season when it mattered the most.

The blue and golds lost 48-32 to Bay of Plenty in Tauranga on Saturday, losing their chance to get into the final of the Mitre 10 Cup Championship.

Otago trailed 22-11 at the break in the semifinal and just made too many errors to be in contention.

The ball handling was sloppy throughout and there was a real lack of discipline from players.

Bay of Plenty lay all over the ball but it has been doing that all season and Otago was just not urgent enough to get the home team out of the way.

Otago coach Cory Brown said it was a disappointing way to end the season but Otago just could not get any traction in the game.

''There was just too many errors and our handling was just not good enough. We could not control our exits and that meant we got stuck in our own 22 for too long,'' Brown said.

''It was a swirling wind and that made for pretty tough conditions. It was difficult for both teams.''

The visiting side never got any momentum in its game and whenever it got handy to Bay of Plenty, it would do something dumb that ended up costing it points.

''We put ourselves under pressure with our handling ... we would score but then would do something wrong and that would let them back into the game.''

Otago scored a try five minutes into the second half when No8 Sione Teu barged over. With the conversion it was right back into the game and just four points behind, with Bay of Plenty a man short - flanker Hugh Blake off the field for a yellow card.

But Otago mucked up the restart and Bay of Plenty scored almost straight away through winger Joe Webber.

Young Otago utility back Vilimoni Koroi came on with just under half an hour left and made a big impact. One searing break should have led to a try but his pass to flanker Slade McDowall was dropped.

That was a reflection of Otago's match - errors at just the wrong time.

The electric Koroi scored a few minutes later with another sizzling break but by then it was too late.

Some of the Otago players need to look at themselves, for the basic skill execution for players at this level was just not good enough.

Otago was not helped by a game that stopped for injuries seemingly every two minutes, and the match lasted well over 100 minutes.

First five-eighth Josh Ioane and lock Blair Tweed both picked up head knocks. They came back on but neither was right and was then pulled from the field.

Best for Otago, apart from Koroi, were loose forwards Adam Knight and Dillon Hunt, while the backline on the whole had a day to forget.

Bay of Plenty will play Wellington in the capital in the Championship final on Friday.

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