Forwards slog it out

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Shocking weather did the North Otago women’s rugby team no favours on Saturday as it fell to a 10-0 loss to University at Oamaru’s Centennial Park.
University ran in two unconverted first-half tries in the forward-dominated clash, which was moved from Whitestone Contracting Stadium at the eleventh hour due to the wet playing surface.
The wet, windy weather resulted in expansive play being a rare sight, and meant both sides relied on their forwards to graft the ball upfield.
On the rare occasions the backs got involved, ball retention was of utmost importance, and it was a battle won by University.
North Otago had some chances but was unable to convert them due to University’s strong defence.
While North Otago allowed University to cross the line twice in the first half, the home side’s defence improved in the second, and the result was a creditable performance against University’s sizeable forward pack.
University had the bulk of possession and territory, which made the difference in the shocking conditions.
North Otago centre Gina Healey was disappointed with the result but was proud of the side’s effort up front.
“I think we pressed really hard on defence and we shut down a lot of their plays, although the weather also did that and made it quite a forwards’ game. “Our forwards really stepped up.
“It was all about trying to control that ball and keeping it as safe in the hands as possible.”North Otago has qualified for the metropolitan women’s competition semifinals, and will again play University in what promises to be an intriguing encounter.