Northland pull off late comeback to snare upset semi-final win over Otago

Otago squandered a half-time lead last night to suffer an upset loss to Otago in the Mitre 10 Cup championship semi-final in Dunedin.

An evenly fought first half saw Otago on the winning end of a 12-10 scoreline, capitalising off a Northland yellow card with a try in the 30th minute from Jona Nareki.

Otago managed one more try through Josh Timu at the halftime siren to claim the small advantage however their lead quickly evaporated when play resumed.

A penalty early in the second half from Johnny Cooper and a try from Jordan Olsen regained the Taniwha lead, however a quick reply from Otago saw the home side back in front by just one point at 19-18.

Northland then kicked into a higher gear with skipper Sam Nock scoring with just eight minutes left in the game.

The try served as a bitter sweet moment for Northland after Nock had to leave the field, seemingly injuring his hamstring on his way to the try line casting doubt over his inclusion in next week's final.

Otago, trailing by four points, were still within striking distance however the Taniwha sealed their final's ticket after Matt Matich crashed over the line in the 78th minute, putting the game out of reach for the home side.

Northland will now be keeping a keen eye on the other championship semi-final between Hawke's Bay and Taranaki today, with the Taniwha playing the winner next week. A win from Taranaki will secure a home final for Northland.