ITM Cup leaders Canterbury retained their unbeaten status after notching a 23-16 victory over Otago in Dunedin on Thursday.
ITM Cup leaders Canterbury retained their unbeaten status after notching a hard-fought 23-16 victory over Otago in Dunedin on Thursday.
Otago had the better of the early exchanges and dominated in the territorial and possession stakes during the opening period but Canterbury showed why they are still unbeaten by coming back from a 13-0 deficit to secure their fourth successive win.
Otago's dominance in the first half saw them taking a 6-0 lead after the opening quarter thanks to two penalties from Hayden Parker.
At that stage, the hosts controlled the pace of the game and soon added to their lead in bizarre fashion. Otago were on the attack, just outside Canterbury's 22, when Parker stabbed a grubber kick through for Teihorangi Walden to chase.
The bounce of the ball evaded Walden, however, but, after hitting a goalpost, Jayden Spence managed to ground the ball with his torso behind Canterbury's try-line.
Parker added the extras to give the hosts a deserved 13-0 lead. Canterbury didn't panic, however, and, after Richie Mo'unga replied with a penalty, they narrowed the gap to three points at half-time thanks to a Nasi Manu try.
Luke Whitelock was initially stopped just short of the line, and after the ball was accidently booted over Otago's try-line, by a Canterbury forward, Manu dived on to it to get the try.
The visitors took control of proceedings after the break and Mo'unga drew his side level from the kicking tee in the 46th minute.
Ten minutes later, Canterbury took the lead for the first time, when Rob Thompson crossed over for their second try after running onto an inside pass from Mo'unga inside Otago's 22.
Mo'unga converted and extended his side's lead via a penatly in the 64th minute before Parker added a three-pointer shortly before the end for the hosts.
This result means that Canterbury have consolidated their position at the top of the table. They have 19 points from four matches.
Pens: Parker 3
Tries: Manu, Thompson
Cons: Mo'unga 2
Pens: Mo'unga 3
Otago: 15 Trent Renata, 14 Marshall Suckling, 13 Jayden Spence, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Fa'asiu Fuatai, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Nick Ealey, 8 Charlie O'Connell, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Naulia Dawai, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Hisa Sasagi, 2 Sam Anderson-Heather, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Donald Brighouse, 18 Joe Latta, 19 TJ Ioane, 20 Lee Allan, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Peter Breen.
Canterbury: 15 Patrick Osborne, 14 Rob Thompson, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Adam Whitelock, 11 Milford Keresoma, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Nasi Manu, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Luke Whitelock, 5 Matt Symons, 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Ben Funnell, 1 Alex Hodgman.
Replacements: 16 Codie Taylor, 17 Siate Tokolahi, 18 Joel Everson, 19 Tom Sanders, 20 Mitchell Drummond, 21 Luteru Laulala, 22 Nathaniel Apa.
Referee: Richard Kelly
By David Skippers