As Otago warmed up for its 23rd Ranfurly shield challenge looking to end a 56-year drought, Oamaruvians may have recognised three local talents who played key roles in the 26-19 victory over Waikato in Hamilton.
Former St Kevin’s College student Kieran Moffat made his debut for Otago nine days ago after North Otago downed Otago Country in the curtain-raiser at Forsyth Barr and is now part of a squad that has ended more than half a century of hurt.
“It was just a magical day,” said Moffat.
“To share it with such a great bunch of guys was awesome. It meant so much to so many people, so we’re just really enjoying it.”
Former Waitaki Boys’ High School student Peter Breen turned out for his 16th Otago tie and said the achievement was just starting to sink in.
“Obviously, we’re honoured to have won the shield,” said the second-five-eighth.
“It’s just starting to sink in now. The build-up was pretty similar to usual. I suppose there was a bit of pressure there, with it being such a long time.”
Not letting down the local contingent, “Kurow Kid” Hayden Parker notched Otago’s only try before punishing Waikato with a flawless goal-kicking display for a personal haul of 21 points.
Otago will defend the shield against Hawke’s Bay on Sunday in Dunedin.
By James Ford