Mitre 10 Cup: Otago overcome Taranaki to keep Ranfurly Shield

Vilimoni Koroi.
Vilimoni Koroi. Photo credit: Image: Getty

Otago have overcome their toughest Ranfurly Shield defence of 2019, with a thrilling 35-27 win over Taranaki at Forsyth Barr Stadium. 

The defence was their third of the season and the southerners will next put it up for grabs in three weeks against Waikato.

The home side made a rampant start, as Kayne Hammington and Adam Thomson combined to shift the ball down the sideline, before Aleki Morris crashed over from close range to score the game's opening try. 

Two penalties from Taranaki cut the game to four points, before the Bulls scored their opening try.

Waisake Naholo was put through a hole and found Mitchell Brown, who gave the visitors the lead after 37 minutes. 

Otago scored on the cusp of half-time through winger Jona Nareki to take a 17-13 lead into the break. 

Determined not to lose the 'Log o' Wood', the holders scored in the 43rd minute - Vilimoni Koroi pounced on a kick from Nareki for the try.

But Taranaki weren't done with - Stephen Perofeta and Teihorangi Walden scored within five minutes of each other to give Taranaki a 27-24 lead, and create a tense final 20 minutes. 

A late try from Nareki put the game to bed, as Otago took the lead again and didn't look back, holding on for an impressive win. 

Otago will take on Wellington on Sunday and Taranaki host Bay of Plenty on Saturday. 

Newshub.

 

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