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ITM Cup: Northland beat Otago 40-23

Northland made it back-to-back ITM Cup wins with an entertaining 40-23 victory against Otago in Dunedin on Wednesday.

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Two tries from openside flanker Jack Ram - one either side of the break - helped set up the bonus-point win, which also featured five-pointers for Namatahi Waa, Ross Wright and Matt Moulds.

It was a timely result given Northland now head to Invercargill for their second match of the week against Southland on Saturday.

However, the defeat will not have done Otago's confidence much good ahead of their Ranfurly Shield Challenge against Hawke's Bay on Sunday - their second in a few weeks after losing to Counties last month.

The home side were stunned from the kick-off when Waa finished off a well-crafted move for Northland's opener in just the second minute.

The visitors pressed hard for a second during the opening quarter, but Otago's defence stood firm and they took the lead when Hayden Parker added a conversion of Tom Franklin's score to his earlier penalty.

Ram's first try of the match put Northland back in the lead, before a moment of brilliance from Parker gave Otago a 20-15 advantage at the break.

But the second half belonged to Northland.

Two penalties from Daniel Hawkins - who was later sin-binned - in the 10 minutes after the interval got them back in front and they never relinquished their advantage, which was enhanced by further scores by Wright and Moulds.

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