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Otago hang on to Ranfurly Shield after high scoring thriller against Taranaki

The log of wood will stay in Dunedin for a little while longer, with Otago taking a 35-27 victory in this afternoon's Ranfurly Shield challenge against Taranaki.

Otago would open the scoring after just two minutes, centre Aleki Morris-Lome producing a diving finish into the left corner for the first points of the afternoon. Vilimoni Koroi converting to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.

Two penalties to Taranaki's Daniel Waite saw the challengers move within one point at 7-6, before the amber and blacks hit the front through Mitchell Brown.

Otago found the time to retake the lead before the break, winger Jona Nareki scoring for a 17-13 advantage at the break.

The hosts would take that momentum into the second half, first-five Koroi the next to cross over, combining with his All Blacks Sevens teammate Nareki in a foot race to the try line.

Down 24-13, Taranaki mustered a second half fightback, with tries to Stephen Perofeta and Teihorangi Walden seeing the visitors temporarily ahead 27-24.

Another penalty to Koroi levelled scores at 27-27, before Nareki's second try of the match sealed the result - and defence of the Ranfurly Shield - for Otago.

Otago's Henry Purdy looked to have put the result beyond any doubt, claiming a try in the final seconds, only to have stepped into touch in the process.


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