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NPC rugby: Wellington v Otago

Wellington v Otago NPC rugby

INCESSANT rain and cold wind had a significant impact on a hard fought victory by Wellington over Otago at Carisbrook on Friday night.

With Wellington inspired by a dismal recent record at the "House of Pain" and facing an inexperienced All Blackless home side they started favourites.

The Lions rewarded this faith early in the first half when promising NZ colts fullback Shannon Paku crossed in the ninth minute to - with David Howell's conversion - give the visitors a 7-0 lead.

Both teams then continued to bash away at each other and while Wellington's superior quality was evident the conditions played an influential role in keeping the score at 7-0 until Howell knocked over a penalty to give his team a 10-0 advantage after 11 minutes of the second half.

Trailing by 10 Otago's spirit revived and by backing themselves they placed increasing pressure on Wellington and with Brendan Laney nailing two penalties it was 10-6 with less than 10 minutes remaining and Otago were firing.

However Wellington revealed the required mettle to handle all the pressure the Southerners hurled at them in the final few minutes to beat the Otago hoodoo and leave Carisbrook 10-6 victors.

Otago captain Kelvin Middleton stating the obvious: " It wasn't easy but we'll take the one point".

A happy Wellington coach Graham Mourie said it was good to win against Otago at Carisbrook for the first time for 12 years.

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