Relegation for Spirit after defeat

Terauoriwa Gapper. Photo: Getty Images
Terauoriwa Gapper. Photo: Getty Images
The Otago Spirit will drop down to the Championship following a comprehensive 72-24 loss to Canterbury in its final game of the season.

The defending champion was too slick for the home team at Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday, scoring 11 tries to three in a polished display.

Former Spirit player Rosie Kelly and exciting openside flanker Jorja Miller bagged two first-half tries apiece.

Miller’s second came out on the right wing. She stepped her way past three players to get to the chalk, whereas Kelly used her pace from fullback to nab her brace.

Canterbury first five Terauoriwa Gapper had a terrific opening half. She took the ball to the line and created a lot of problems for Otago’s defence.

The Spirit’s lineout was not functioning very well but the home side had a nice patch either side of the half. Lock Julia Gorinski barged over from close range after a nice build-up and No8 Greer Muir collected a double.

Maia Joseph had another strong game, this time at first five rather than her usual spot at hafback.

Canterbury lost prop and captain Steph Te Ohaere-Fox to the sin bin for 10 minutes in the second spell, but regained its momentum quickly.

Martha Mataele palmed off three tackles in a 30m run to bring up the half-century for Canterbury and there was a late scoring flurry that blew the score out.

In the other Premiership game, Wellington beat Bay of Plenty 41-34 at Mount Maunganui to clinch a spot in the preliminary final against Waikato.

Canterbury is straight through to the Farah Palmer Cup final.

In the Championship, Hawke’s Bay beat Taranaki 35-19. The Tui will play Northland in a semifinal, the winner to play direct qualifier Manawatu for a chance at promotion. Manawatu thumped Tasman 85-7 yesterday.

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