Hertford Highlander

Otago’s very own South African captain gets them home

Written by Gwyn Pratley (Hertford Highlander)

Posted in :All Blacks, Original Content on 14 Jul 2011 at 14:05
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

In the opening match of the ITM season, Otago’s South African captain scored a brace of tries in leading from the front and getting the home side a well-earned 46-29 victory at Carisbrook against North Harbour.

On the worst night of the 2011 rugby season in New Zealand we were reminded in no uncertain terms that rugby is a winter game.

It took the Otago captain Eben Joubert only two minutes to create a turn over and set the Otago backs away for their first foray into North Harbour territory and a clever grubber kick in behind the Aucklanders’ backline by Tony Brown saw the fly-half taken out late, Otago converted, 3-0 after 2 minutes.

For the next 16 minutes wet weather rugby ruled in a period of little drama, until Harbour paid the ultimate price for not respecting possession in the wet conditions, with the ball ricocheting into the arms of the flying Joe Hill who raced 40 metres to score under the posts. Dickson added the extras for the home side to lead 10-0.

Otago then settled into their work at set piece time with former All Black Kees Meews shoring up a solid Otago scrum. Highlanders Tom Donnelly and Halani Aulika along with 2010 New Zealand Under 20 hooker Liam Coltman maintained a solid platform upfront which eventually released the industrious South African to score his first try of the night when he popped up on the shoulder of former Shark Tony Brown to score beside the uprights – Otago 17-0 after 24 minutes.

The cold home crowd only had to wait a further 3 minutes before captain fantastic grabbed a brace, when he picked ’n went at the break down carrying defenders with him to once again score beside the uprights. Both of Joubert’s 5 pointers were converted by fullback Dickson for Otago to lead 24-0 after 27 minutes.

With five minutes before the break Harbour lock James King used every inch of his height to stretch out and score.

That sent the visitors to the break trailing their southern hosts 24-5.

Ben Botica got proceeding under way in the second half and on the 42 minute mark added a penalty to Harbour’s cause, Otago 24-8.

Otago then pinned the visitors down in the corner and forced a scrum which brought their big front rowers into action. A dominate Otago scrum set Tony Brown alight who once again slid a wobbly kick in behind the Harbour defence for one Test All Black Ben Atiga to scoop up the loose ball and score for Otago with a bonus point touch down – Otago 31-8.

Brown was once again back in the spotlight after the restart with some deft touches both out of hand and with the boot. It wasn’t long before Harbour were jogging back to half way again after a Brown drop goal extended the lead to 34-8.

With Harbour forced to chase the game the second half opened up and it paid immediate dividends with the boys from the North Shore scoring two well-crafted tries after 64 and 66 minutes to Cody Rei and Rudi Wulf, both being converted by Ben Botica.

Cody Rei then went from hero to zero when he spilled the ball in his own Red Zone, which again allowed the dominant home pack to get back into the action. The resulting phases saw Joubert’s replacement TJ Ioane scoring and Dickson kept the points coming for Otago to lead 41-22.

With time almost up on the clock both sides seemed still hungry for action and prevalent 2010 ITM Cup try scorer Matt Luamanu scored his first of the new season.

However the Razorbacks were not to be denied the final say with a spirited final stanza that saw replacement lock Rob Verbakel scoring the sixth Otago try of the evening.

Final score: Otago 46-29 North Harbour.

After the match Sharksworld grabbed an exclusive word with victorious Otago Captain Eben Joubert.

Sharksworld: Well first up Eben you must be happy with that?

Eben Joubert: Yeah definitely – stoked!

SW: You played the first half for large passages without the ball – you defended well, is that what you put your good start down to?

EJ: The biggest thing tonight for us was our passion and our hunger.

SW: Otago didn’t score many tries last year so it must have been satisfying to bag three quick tries in that first half?

EJ: Having guys like Brownie and Ben Atiga that can control things in that backline is just awesome.

SW: There looks a nice mix within the squad, with a few old hands to help the youngsters.

EJ: Definitely, we have a proud history and we are looking forward to an exciting future with a couple of final games here at Carisbrook then the move to the new Forysth Barr Stadium.

SW: The bench tonight was emptied and they all seemed to make a real impact.

EJ: We have worked hard this year to make sure we have guys that can make an impact when they come on. The depth of our squad is important with the short congested season we are going to pull really hard on our bench, everyone is hungry and there is a lot of competition within and outside the squad.

SW: Well done tonight and good luck travelling north.

EJ: Cheers thanks for that – appreciate it!


  • Good job as always HH.Always bagging the interviews

  • Comment 1, posted at 14.07.11 14:11:14 by Clayton(PJLD) Reply
  • @Clayton(PJLD) (Comment 1) :

    More like always bagging the Sharksworld trophies/cups!!

    You check the ou has 3 now?? 😯 🙄

  • Comment 2, posted at 14.07.11 14:16:30 by wpw Reply
  • HH no mention of the guy that predicted the game SPOT-ON 🙂

  • Comment 3, posted at 14.07.11 14:16:36 by franshark Reply
  • ”……into the arms of the flying Joe Hill’s arms who raced 40 minutes to score under the posts.” 😯 😈

  • Comment 4, posted at 14.07.11 14:28:58 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • Great stuff HH.

  • Comment 5, posted at 14.07.11 14:39:55 by Ben Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld Author
  • @JarsonX (Comment 4) : The post has been edited but how do you race 40minutes long to score a try. 😉

  • Comment 6, posted at 14.07.11 14:50:40 by JarsonX Reply
    Competition WinnerCompetition WinnerCompetition Winner
  • @wpw (Comment 2) : he knows how to stiekuit that HH boy!

  • Comment 7, posted at 14.07.11 15:34:27 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • HH; your work is awesome!

  • Comment 8, posted at 14.07.11 17:53:09 by Big Fish Reply
    Big Fish

Add Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.