Records tumble in Hawke's Bay mauling

Fletcher Smith
Fletcher Smith

Otago's big win against Hawke's Bay has set the side up well for the rest of the season and shows it is capable of scoring plenty of points.

Otago smashed Hawke's Bay 64-21 in Napier on Sunday and with the victory secured its first win at McLean Park since 1993.

Otago now sits in third place in the Mitre 10 Cup Championship division and although it may feel like early days the game against Tasman on Saturday will be the side's fifth game in the competition, marking the halfway point in Otago's campaign.

The nine tries to three win over Hawke's Bay came with a bonus point and Otago has now gathered five bonus points in what is looming as a tight Championship division.

Wellington was looking as a runaway leader in the Championship but it lost 37-35 to Tasman on Sunday to come back to the pack.

Northland is the surprise packet of the season, having three wins from its four games and sitting in second place on the Championship ladder, with Otago three points behind Northland.

The two sides meet in a midweek game on September 27 in Whangarei which could be crucial to both sides' playoff chances.

For Otago the win over Hawke's Bay was worth celebrating - its first in Napier for 24 years and also first over Hawke's Bay anywhere since 2010.

It was the biggest score recorded by Otago since it scored 65 points against Northland in 2003. Since then it has played a total of 161 games and only got up to 60 points once before Sunday - a 61-7 beating of Southland at Forsyth Barr Stadium in 2015.

Otago scored a try in the final minute through fullback Fletcher Smith and that was a record setter on all three levels.

It beat the previous highest score set for Otago against Hawke's Bay, which was 60-21 in a match played in Napier in 1989. It was also the biggest margin of victory over Hawke's Bay.

Smith's final try and conversion brought an individual tally of 34 points for Smith, which was the highest against Hawke's Bay.

He was not far behind the individual record against any team, held by Paul Turner against East Coast in 1986.

Smith was only called into the side a couple of days beforehand after Vilimoni Koroi was pulled from the side because of suspected mumps.


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