Otago 37-33 Auckland
Otago snatch home semi-final
October 13, 2013
Otago celebrate their win over Auckland and snatch a home semi-final from Hawke's Bay
© Getty Images
Hayden Parker's record-breaking season continued as Otago secured a classy 37-33 win over Auckland to ensure they host one of the championship semi-finals. The runaway points scorer in the competition, Parker kicked six penalties and two conversions for his fourth 20-point match of the season as the hosts secured their victory.
Otago were rewarded for their positive brand of football with a 21-18 half time lead, however their lead was constantly threatened as they continued to give away their advantage through penalties.
Auckland's first try came on the back of four penalty advantages before the winger George Moala finally doted down. However Otago recovered well and with the majority of possession in the second half ensuring Auckland wouldn't be able to secure a victory despite their best efforts.
Auckland struggled to get into their rhythm, which saw them defeat Canterbury only two weeks ago, instead with their place in the premiership semi-finals confirmed, spent the first three quarters of the match defending. When Moala scored his second try the belief had returned for Auckland, but by then it was too little too late.
The result means Otago snatch hosting rights for the second championship semi-final from Hawke's Bay, meanwhile Auckland travel to Addington to play Canterbury on Saturday.
Although Auckland were first to put points on the board, Otago soon took the lead and were unwilling to surrender for the rest of the match. Points continued to flow throughout the match, with both sides attacking freely when in possession.
Auckland was soon level with Otago after the break, but a try to Otago captain Paul Grant put Otago back in the lead, which was stretched even further with three penalties from Parker. Auckland reduced the deficit with only minutes remaining as well as securing a four try bonus point, however Otago's lead was too much as they took the win.