North Otago look for first win

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North Otago will be intent on remedying last weekend’s Heartland defeat when it takes on South Canterbury in Timaru tomorrow.

The Old Golds fell to a tightly contested 20-18 loss to Wairarapa Bush at the Whitestone Contracting Stadium in its opening clash of the campaign last weekend.

Tomorrow’s opponents will also be in search of their first win after being downed 21-17 to Thames Valley in their opening outing.

Coach Mike Mullins said training for the encounter had gone well.

“Preparation has been good this week. Tuesday training ran well,” he said.

“We have worked on all areas of our game (on) Tuesday – nothing too specific as we want to move on from last week’s defeat and concentrate on this weekend’s opposition.”

North Otago will be without prop Will Henry due to other commitments, which will give Mullins and Troy Looms an opportunity to bring another loan player into the 22 for tomorrow’s clash. Mullins insisted his team would put last Saturday’s defeat behind them and focus on a victory over last year’s Lonchore Cup finalists tomorrow.

“That player will be Ben Patston, a first five-eighth from Southern in Dunedin who is also a former North Otago player,” he said.

“There are some other small injury concerns, which may impact on the makeup of the team, but will know more this (yesterday) evening.

“The team know they could have played better, and are eager to get a win on the board.”

South Canterbury coach Chester Scott said his players would start from scratch after last weekend’s defeat.

“It’s just a case of starting again,” he said.

“We lost to a better team on the day, it’s always tough against North Otago and has been over the last ten years.

“Training has gone well, but we’re expect a tough game.”

Saturday’s fixture:

South Canterbury vs North Otago

Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru.

2.30pm.

North Otago squad:

Ralph Darling, TJ Harris, Palenapa Mafi, Dyland Winter, Eric Duff, Josh Clark (Captain), Matt Duff, Samisoni Tongotongo, Robbie Smith, Ben Patston, Ratu Vatuinanku, Adam Anzani-Jones, Lemi Masoe, Chris Talanoa, Simeli Vatuinanku.

Replacements In order from Hooker to Full Back:

Kilioni Taufa, Toetuu Hausia, Silivencio Havili, Paula Fonokalafi, Sale Pi’i, Mark Evans, Edward Keohane.