The Old Golds got their Pacific Island Island tour under way last evening, with a match against Fijian side Nadroga at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka, Fiji.
It will be the side’s first of three matches in their 11-day tour of the Pacific Islands, with two more matches to follow.
Fijian side Nadroga are using the match as a chance for players to gain a place in their match day squad for their semi-final against Suva.
North Otago is using the tour for combinations ahead of the Heartland Championship, while some fringe players are trying to play their way into the final squad with strong performances on tour.
North Otago coach Mike Mullins said last Friday before the team left that they would need to adapt to the conditions.
“The weather will be a lot warmer and we want to play expansively so it should be a good test for the boys’ fitness.”
He expects the sides to be able to adapt to the conditions quickly.
“They will be fine, we have trained hard and I’m confident in the squad we have,” he said.
Mullins said the side would be boosted by the presence of University A first-five Stephen Fenemore.
“Steve is a very handy player and when we heard he was available, we tried to get him straight away,” Mullins said.
The match got under way at 6pm shortly before the Oamaru Mail went to print.
North Otago’s next match is against Pacific Island University after which they fly to Tonga to take on a Tongan XV.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
KEY: Fijian Simeli Koniferedi (with ball) is a key player for North Otago on their Pacific Island tour.