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Horowhenua-Kapiti made the most of its opportunities, even though for most of the game it trailed North Otago, which took the lead in the 15th minute and held it until 19 minutes into the second half, before wilting. North Otago coach Barry Stevens was naturally disappointed.
''In the second half we just lacked ball and possession and any sort of field position, but all credit must go to Horowhenua-Kapiti. At the end of the day, they deserved to win,'' he said.
''It was pretty greasy and slippery out there but I thought going into halftime we were in the game. We just needed to get some more ball and consistent field position but in the final 20 minutes we just did not do that.''
For North Otago, fullback Oscar Pamment gave a solid all round display, as did centre Nathan Cargo, who scored a fine individual try.
Up front, Samisoni Tongotongo relished the physical nature of the game before he was yellow carded just before halftime, while hooker Michael Paterson and prop Ralph Darling gave.
Horowhenua-Kapiti had a fine general in first five eighth Brandyn Laursen, while fullback Michael Tambour and winger Teegan Minkley relished running with the ball.
Tom Zimmerman was a bruising runner, captain Antony Fox outplayed his opposites and the Horowhenua-Kapiti tight forwards dominated the breakdowns.
Four minutes into the game, Laursen strolled through some ineffective tackling to give his side a 5-0 lead.
His opposite, Ben Palmer, kicked the first of his four penalties five minutes later. Laursen and Palmer exchanged penalties in the 14th and 15th minutes to give the home side an 8-6 lead.
Ten minutes from halftime, Tongotongo burst away on the blindside from a scrum and the ball was then swung to the open side, where centre Cargo split the defence to race 35m to score and put North Otago into a 14-8 lead.
Laursen and Palmer again swapped penalties in the 41st and 46th minutes to leave North Otago with a 17-11 lead before Laursen added another penalty.
Horowhenua-Kapiti regained the lead midway through the half when right winger Teegan Minkley's first try made the score 19-17.
Nine minutes later, North Otago lock Maene Mapusaga gathered a kick on his 10m line and burst 40m upfield. The ball was recycled and fullback Pamment was on the outside to score and put North Otago into a 22-19 lead.
Eight minutes from fulltime, the home team produced a series of attacks and eventually North Otago was outflanked and Minkley went over wide out for Laursen to convert.
In other fifth round games, King Country drew with second placed Wanganui 17-17 and competition leader Mid Canterbury beat bottom team East Coast 50-32, with a rejuvenated East Coast scoring five tries.
A last second penalty took West Coast to a 36-33 win over Wairarapa Bush, Buller produced something like its 2014 form to beat Poverty Bay 36-14 and South Canterbury stayed in the top three with a 35-17 win over Thames Valley.
By Terry O'Neill.
North Otago v Horowhenua-Kapiti
Teegan Minkley 2, Brandyn Laursen tries; Laursen 3 pen, con
North Otago 22
Nathan Cargo try; Oscar Pamment try; Ben Palmer 4 pen
Halftime: 14-8 North Otago.