Local talent shines in ITM Cup opener

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North Otago had a healthy representation in Otago’s thrilling 32-29 opening ITM Cup victory over Bay of Plenty at Forstyth Barr Stadium on Sunday.

Former St Kevin’s College student Kieran Moffat made his debut at right wing and said he had adjusted to his new role on the wing from centre with the help of Buxton Popoali’i.

“It wasn’t too bad, I was a bit nervous and felt a wee bit lost at first but having those guys around me certainly helped,” he said.

“Buxton (Popoali’i) has been helping me a lot this week, I think Brownie (Tony Brown) sees me as a winger but also able to play centre.”

The 24-year-old remembers his time at SKC fondly as a member of the 2005 blood match winning team and is now acclimatising to his new playing level.

“I enjoyed my time there, the highlight for me was playing with my brother.

“It’s a huge step up, the intensity and physicality, club finals rugby is probably the closest it gets.”

Moffat was joined by fellow Oamaruvian Peter Breen for the clash.

It was a blazer game for the former Waitaki Boys’ High School student to mark his 15th appearance for Otago and the occasion was marked in style, touching down on the stroke of half time to reduce the visitors’ lead to 16-10.

The second-five-eighth was pleased to take the win and cited ‘Kurow kid’ Hayden Parker as having a helping hand in his progression.

“Things did go well, we started quiet slowly but we’re happy to get the win.” he said.

“The coach, Tony Brown, has given me a lot of help and Hayden (Parker).”

Breen said he was pleased to turn out with Moffat after sharing much of their rugby development together.

“It was awesome to run out with Kieran (Moffat), we first played together at North Otago Under-12 and came right through the age groups together.”

Hayden Parker did not let down the local contingent by handing his side the lead with four minutes to spare, notching six penalties and two conversions for a 22 point total.

By James Ford