Otago crushes the Magpies

Photosport     07 Aug 2006     Photosport

Otago scored five tries to none and was too clinical for a Hawke's Bay side which has still to find its collective feet at premier division level.

Hawkes Bay has now played 160 minutes without scoring a solitary point and that must be a concern for the management and players.

Otago played within itself for long periods but it had too much class and experience for its opponents.

Nick Evans' class shone like a beacon and he helped set up two tries, as well as kicking five goals from eight attempts.

Toby Morland was tidy and efficient at halfback and Craig Clare showed his class from fullback.

The Otago forwards were not at full steam but there was some skilled, constructive play from captain and No 8 Craig Newby, two-try flanker Alando Soakai while Chris King played well at prop.

Otago's handsome win was despite it gaining only 33 percent possession and having to make many more tackles than its opposition.

"Our game plan was discipline," Otago captain Newby said after the win.

"If we did that, we could squeeze the life out of them and that's pretty much what happened."

Otago made the almost perfect start with a try after less than two minutes. Concerted attack led to Evans floating a long pass to Clare, who stepped and accelerated his way through the defence for almost 40 metres for a magnificent individual try.

Evans kicked an angled penalty from 32 metres after 11 minutes to extend the lead to 8-0 and Otago scored its second try 12 minutes later.

Morland chipped down the blind-side and, after right wing Ben Smith was shouldered by his opposite as he was diving for the ball in goal, Soakai followed up and was awarded the try. Evans converted magnificently and Otago led 15-0.

Otago continued to attack and Evans' second penalty, from 30 metres and almost in front, increased its lead to 18-0.

Otago's healthy half-time lead was achieved despite it gaining only 28 percent possession and having to make a lot of tackles. But it showed more precision than Hawke's Bay on attack and was able to snaffle crucial turnovers.

Otago repeated the pattern of scoring at the start of the half in the second spell when lock Tom Donnelly crashed over after good lineout work and interplay between backs and forwards. Evans' conversion made it 25-0.

Otago achieved its bonus-point try midway through the spell when Clare created space, and centre Neil Brew put right wing Smith over in the corner to make it 30-0.

Seventeen minutes from the end Evans glided 40 metres through the defence with a lovely run when he gathered an errant lineout ball and in-passed to Soakai who scored his second try. Evans' conversion made it 37-0.

Otago lock Filipo Levi was sin-binned for a professional foul nine minutes from the end as Hawke's Bay had yet another crack on attack inside Otago territory, but in vain, and it has conceded 82 points in its first two games without getting on the scoreboard.

Otago 37
Tries: Alando Soakai, 2, Craig Clare, Tom Donnelly, Ben Smith
Conversions: Evans 3
Penalty goals: Evans 2

Hawkes Bay 0