Otago have survived an almighty scare in their first Ranfurly Shield defence of the year, with a 41-21 victory over Thames Valley in Wanaka.
Taking on the 2018 Meads Cup winners, Otago were rocked early by a try to Harry Lafituanai, Thames Valley a 13-0 lead.
Staring at a potential upset, Otago scored with the final act of the first half, Sekonaia Pole crashing over in the 41st minute, Thames Valley leading 13-7 at the break.
After the break though, Otago were a different side altogether, with tried to James Lentjes, Ben Miller, Aleki Morris, Dylan Nel and Slade McDowall sealing the shield’s stay in the deep south.
Thames Valley would grab a consolation try before the final whistle, a second to Lafituanai, but Otago would ultimately prove too strong for their lesser opponents.