Fijian-born Pita Gus Sowakula scored a crucial try for Taranaki as they held off Otago attacks to claim a tense 30-23 National Provincial Championship win last night.
Putting them at the top of the Championship ladder.
Having scored what proved to be the decisive try, to replace halfback Liam Blyde in the 72nd minute, the visitors to Forsyth Barr Stadium then spent most of the rest of the contest camped near their line.
Otago botched two golden opportunities from close-range lineouts, firstly with Fabian Holland knocking on in his leap, then with the pack conceding a maul turnover for not using the ball on time.
The hosts had one last crack in attacking a couple of minutes past the siren, but a Josh Ioane knock-on scuppered any hopes they may be able to make it a second golden-point game for the round.
Otago kept Taranaki honest throughout and went to halftime locked at 13-13 despite the visitors’ superiority.
However, a contentious 48th-minute yellow card then put the home side on the back foot.
Having almost survived the 10 short-handed minutes unscathed, the hosts did eventually concede, with a piece of brilliance from Pita Gus Sowakula putting Taranaki back in front.