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Have a go . . . North Otago prop Claudia Cleverley eyes the University defence at Centennial Park on Saturday. PHOTO: PHIL JANSSEN

Season openers are often more about getting a sense of where your team is at than the result, and that was the case for the North Otago women’s rugby team on Saturday.

A 44-19 loss to powerful Otago University in Oamaru provided plenty for coach Mark Wilson to digest.

“We got a huge amount out of that game, and there was some very positive stuff.

“It was a good gauge of where we are at, where we need to be and what we need to concentrate on.”

A young University side had plenty of pace and shifted the ball well, and the difference in speed appeared to be a telling point for large parts of the game.

“It was certainly a factor,” Wilson said.

“But also their aggression and physicality at the breakdown. Their No 7 was just outstanding there. She showed her class.”

Wilson was extremely heartened by the North Otago women’s late burst, scoring two tries to finish the game on a high note.

“We clearly dominated the last 15 minutes, so that was a huge positive for us to go 80 minutes and finish so well.”

Ana Siale, who started on the wing but really shone when she moved to second five-eighth, scored two tries for North Otago, and fullback Cheyenne Cunningham grabbed the third.

English visitor Catherine Wilcock kicked two conversions.

North Otago has an exciting weekend ahead. It gets to play at Forsyth Barr Stadium against Green Island, which has replaced Southern in the Dunedin women’s competition.