Otago scored their first win of the ITM Cup season on Sunday, beating Hawke's Bay 17-16 in a windy clash at Carisbrook .
Otago scored their first win of the ITM Cup season at Carisbrook on Sunday, beating Hawke's Bay 17-16 in a windy clash of the basement clubs.
Otago led Hawke's Bay 10-3 at half time but had to hold on in the second period as the howling wind almost swept the visitors to victory.
The home side out-scored the Magpies two tries to one in a grueling encounter that was short of highlights until the nail-biting dying minutes that saw Hawke's Bay fly-half Daniel Kirkpatrick miss a penalty that would have put his side in front with ten minutes left on the clock.
Otago put their noses in front courtesy of a try to captain Alando Soakai but spent much of the rest of the game on defence.
The strong wind made entertaining rugby a difficult task and Otago were clearly missing star loose forward Adam Thomson but were fourteen points ahead shortly after the break thanks to a try from veteran prop Kees Meeuws.
The former All Blacks' pick-and-go effort was just one part of powerful display both in the scrums and in open play.
Hawke's Bay hooker Hika Elliot shrugged off a weak tackle from lock Hoani Matenga 18 minutes from time to score and set up a grandstand finish.
The visiting pack mauled their way over the tryline but the TMO did not have clear evidence to award the try.
Despite the win, Otago are still stuck at the bottom of the standings, two points behind Manawatu and three behind Hawke's Bay.
Tries: Soakai, Meeuws
Con: Dickson 2
For Hawke's Bay:
Pens: Kirkpatrick 2, Jackman
Otago: 15 Ben Smith, 14 Joe Hill, 13 Josh Tatupu, 12 Andrew Parata, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Glenn Dickson, 9 Sean Romans, 8 Adam Thom son, 7 Alando Soakai (c), 6 Brad Cameron, 5 Hayden Triggs, 4 Hoani Matenga, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Kees Meeuws.
Replacements: 16 Wyatt McKay, 17 Sam Hibbard, 18 Josh Townsend, 19 Charlie O'Connell, 20 Johnny Legg, 21 Hayden Parker, 22 Chris Small.
Hawke's Bay: 15 Mike Jackman, 14 Gillies Kaka,13 Richard Buckman,12 Jason Shoemark (c),11 Zac Guildford, 10 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Grant Webb, 7 Trent Boswell-Wakefield, 6 Mike Coman, 5 Ross Kennedy, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Clint Newland, 2 Hikawera Elliot, 1 Anthony Perenise.
Replacements: 16 Eugene Smith, 17 Josh Keys, 18 Leighton Price, 19 Michael Johnson, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Ryan McLeodl, 22 Sinoti Sinoti.
Referee: James McPhail