7 Aug 2021

Otago prevail in southern derby

9:57 pm on 7 August 2021

Otago have snatched a dramatic 26-19 win over Southland in the opening round of the national provincial championship.

Freedom Vahaakolo.
Southland Stags vs Otago at the Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand on Saturday 7th August 2021.

Freedom Vaha'akolo Photo: Blake Armstrong/Photosport Ltd 2021

Centre Freedom Vaha'akolo has scored the winning try for Otago in the 79th minute to break a 19-all deadlock.

Marty Banks had kicked a penalty just two minutes earlier to draw Southland level.

Banks finished with a 14-point haul in his debut for the Stags, with Greg Pleastants-Tate scoring Southland's only try.

Sam Gilbert scored Otago's only try in the first half, with Vilimoni Koroi kicking three penalties and a conversion.

Earlier the Wellington Lions made a commanding start to their season, thumping Northland 54-7 in Wellington, after leading 28-7 at halftime.

Blindside flanker Taine Plumtree scored three tries for Wellington, while Peter Umaga-Jensen, Alex Fidow, Julian Savea, Bruce Kauika-Petersen and Brandyn Laursen also dotted down for the Lions.

Brandyn Laursen (L) celebrates scoring a try with Thomas Umaga-Jensen during the Bunnings NPC rugby match between the Lions and Northland at Sky Stadium in Wellington. 7 August 2021.

Brandyn Laursen celebrates scoring a try for the Wellington Lions with Peter Umaga-Jensen. Photo: Marty Melville/Photosport Ltd 2021

Jordan Olsen scored the only five-pointer for Northland.

The Taniwha finished the match with just 14 players after replacement first-five Dan Hawkins was red-carded for a high tackle.

Meanwhile, the Hawke's Bay Magpies have made an unsuccessful start to life in the premiership.

Last year's championship winners have been beaten 33-19 by championship side Taranaki at Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.

Taranaki scored the first 19 points of the match courtesy of a try from hooker Bradley Slater and a conversion and four penalties from the boot of Stephen Perofeta.

Hawke's Bay cut the deficit to 19-12 at halftime after tries from Devan Flanders and Lincoln McClutchie before Slater scored his second try to put the amber and blacks up by 14 points early in the second-half.

Hawke's Bay captain Ash Dixon scored in the 68th minute to cut the advantage to seven but replacement winger Vereniki Tikoisolomone had the final say for Taranaki, scoring with time up on the clock.