Spirit Claim Championship Crown

The Perfect Season

The Otago Spirit completed the perfect season by defeating Hawkes Bay in the Farah Palmer Cup Championship final with a 24 – 20 victory at Forsyth Barr Stadium this afternoon.

In a tight  first half, Hawkes Bay took an 8 – 7 lead into the break after Spirit first five Rosie Kelly opened the scoring by converting her own try, before Hawkes Bay came back to take the lead through a try and a penalty.

The arm wrestle continued in the second half with the lead changing hands before Otago’s Kilisitina Moata’ane and Sheree Hume both grabbed tries to give Otago a nine point lead with around 5 minutes remaining. A late try to Hakes Bay closed the gap to 4 points however the Spirit hung on to the lead and took the Championship win and the 2019 title.

Otago Spirit v Hawkes Bay Tui Final (27.10.19)
Championship Champions

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So Back In March

It’s hard to believe that these photos were taken 212 days ago. It’s even harder to believe that here in October I’m still shooting rugby. Each year I generally start covering rugby by floating around the preseason in February. By that time Super Rugby is up and running and the clubs are being sorted out for the coming season. All up this results in a 9 month season which is pretty long by anyone standards. Maybe that’s the reason it’s so hard to get crowds for the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup

Featured Photo – Faces

Dunedin Premier 2 v Kaikorai Premier 2 (23.03.19)Back in March, the Dunedin Premier 2 hosted Kaikorai Premier 2 in a preseason played at Kettle Park on Saturday 23rd March, 2019.

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Spirit Advance To Final

Otago Spirit Defeat Tasman

The Otago Spirit have defeated Tasman in the Farah Palmer Cup Championship semi final with a 64 – 10 victory at Forsyth Barr Stadium this afternoon.

The win means the Otago Spirit will have home advantage for next weekends final, but it also means the Spirit have advanced through to the final unbeaten.

After a dominant first half performance which saw the Spirit take a 35 – 0 lead into the break, more tries in the second half resulted in the Spirit posting a 64 -10 victory.

Next week’s final is likely to be played on Sunday due to Sky TV scheduling but this is still to be confirmed.

Otago Spirit v Tasman Semi Final (19.10.19)Otago Spirit players Paige Church and Eilis Doyle show their club symbol and their delight at winning following the Farah Palmer Cup Championship semi final.

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Aleki Morris-Lome

Featured Photo – Aleki Morris-Lome

Today’s feature is of Otago and Harbour centre Aleki Morris-Lome. The former Bayfield and Otago Boys’ High School pupil who started his first-class career playing for Southland (having played 17 games for the Stags) has been a regular feature of the Otago backline this year and has set-up many opportunities for the players outside him.

Otago v Manawatu (30.09.19)Aleki Morris of Otago looks for support during the Mitre 10 Cup match between Otago and Manawatu played for the Ranfurly Shield at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, on Friday 30th August, 2019.

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The Style of Amy Du Plessis

The semi-finals have been decided in the Farah Palmer Cup with Canterbury and Auckland hosting semi-finals in the Premiership and Otago and Hawkes Bay hosts the semi-finals in the Championship.

Farah Palmer Cup Premiership, semifinals:
Canterbury v Counties Manukau; Auckland v Wellington.

Farah Palmer Cup Championship, semifinals: Otago v Northland; Hawke’s Bay v Tasman.

Featured Photo – Amy Du Plessis

Otago Spirit v Taranaki Whio (08.09.19)The Otago Spirit’s Amy Du Plessis runs through a gap during the Farah Palmer Cup match between the Otago Spirit and Taranaki Whio played at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, on Sunday 8th September, 2019.

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35 Images From Otago’s Time With The Shield

This is not a definitive collection of shield moments, yet nor is it a ‘best of’ collection. This is a visual reflection of shield moments from Otago’s 2018/2019 reign. There was some fantastic rugby played as Otago successfully defended the shield six times, many people involved in making the defences special occasions and a wonderful community buzz whenever the shield was taken on tour.

I hope you enjoy this visual reflection of Otago’s shield reign.

The Shield Reign

Otago won the Shield from Waikato in a 23–19 victory in Hamilton on Saturday, 13th October, 2018.

Otago’s 2019 Shield Defences
Vs Thames Valley          Won 41 to 21
Vs North Otago              Won 49 to 14
Vs Southland                    Won 41 to 22
Vs Manawatu                   Won 37 to 20
Vs Taranaki                        Won 35 to 27
Vs Waikato .                      Won 45 to 35
Vs Canterbury                 Lost 35 – 25

Matiu Abraham of Thames Valley and Otago’s Joe Latta share a joke after the Ranfurly Shield match between Otago and Thames Valley played at the Wanaka Showgrounds in Wanaka, on Saturday 13th July, 2019.

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The Style of Kilistina Moata’ane

The Otago Spirit have been in great form so far this season and are currently unbeaten. With so many players staring for the side it’s impossible to single out one player above the rest. However, back Kilistina Moata’ane seems to keep popping up in the camera lens breaking tackles, throwing passes and scoring tries so I thought a wee photo feature was in order.

Featured Photo – Kilistina Moata’ane Superstylin

Otago Spirit midfield back Kilistina Moata’ane breaks free of a tackle to score in the early stages of the Farah Palmer Cup match against Taranaki.

Otago Spirit v Taranaki Whio (08.09.19)
Kilistina Moata’ane in action for the Otago Spirit against Taranaki recently.

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James Arscott Debut

Making a provincial debut is always an important milestone for any player in their career, so it’s important we recognise that milestone for James Arscott. While the main talking point from Saturday’s Ranfurly Shield match was Canterbury taking the shield back to Christchurch, it can’t be forgotten that in his first year out of high school, James Arscott came on to make his debut for Otago in the dying stages of the match.

Featured Photo – James Arscott On Debut For Otago

James Arscott of Otago clears a ruck as Otago attack near the Canterbury line during the Mitre 10 Cup match between Otago and Canterbury played for the Ranfurly Shield at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, on Saturday 5th October, 2019.

Otago v Canterbury (05.10.19)James Arscott on debut for Otago

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High Flying Spirit

It seems the Otago Spirit are having a vintage season with wins over Taranaki, Northland, Tasman, North Harbour and Hawke’s Bay. Not only have they been winning, they’ve been playing some fantastic rugby and are great to watch at the moment. Unfortunately the Farah Palmer Cup  table details at allblacks.com is sadly lacking in updated information or finals details which is disappointing however no doubt the Spirit will be playing their finals footy here in Dunedin.

If you want to follow their progress you can find them on facebook: @OtagoSpirit

Featured Photo – The Spirit

Otago and Otago Spirit 2019 Season Launch
The official Otago Spirit squad for the 2019 Farah Palmer Cup after being named at Vault 21 in Dunedin earlier this year.

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Canterbury Take Shield From Otago

Shield On The Move

Canterbury have won the Ranfurly Shield from Otago with a 35 – 25 win at Forsyth Barr Stadium this evening.

The win under the roof in Dunedin not only gave the Canterbury team some much needed Mitre 10 Cup points but also the prize of the Ranfurly Shield to take home to Christchurch.

At the end of 80 minutes, when Otago captain Michael Collins handed over the shield to Canterbury’s Luke Whitelock it marked the end of Otago’s sixth reign with the shield which included wins over Thames Valley, North Otago, Southland, Manawatu, Taranaki and Waikato.

In keeping with Shield tradition, Canterbury reserve hooker Sebastian Siataga will be entrusted with looking after the Shield on it’s trip back to Christcurch where Canterbury’s first defence will be against North Harbour played at Orangetheory Stadium, on Sunday 13th October, 2019 at 4:35pm. 

Otago v Canterbury (05.10.19)
A jubilant Canterbury side with the Ranfurly Shield after Canterbury defeated Otago 35 – 25 this evening in Dunedin.

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