A commanding second-half has earned Christchurch Boys’ High School a 32-16 victory over Christ’s College this afternoon.
With 20 minutes remaining the match appeared to be in the balance with the visitors only leading 22-16. However Christchurch boasted the more potent backline and when centre George Harding cut through to score a fourth try, Christchurch settled the contest with 15 minutes to go.
Christchurch threatened from the outset with wing Yoji Yabe tackled into the corner flag in the third minute.
Christ’s scored the first points after seven minutes when second-five Shun Miyake kicked a penalty, but Yabe wouldn’t be denied a short time later finishing a bust by wing partner Brigham Riwai-Couch.
Initially Christchurch had lineout troubles allowing Christ’s to control territory. However relentless attack went unrewarded and when Ryan Barnes poached an intercept and dashed 100-metres it was 12-3 to Boys’ High after 17 minutes. Barnes scored two tries in the 2016 fixture.
A clean break by the impressive Harding resulted in no profit, but Christ’s captain Sam Darry was rewarded for his industry after half an hour, scoring a try to make it 12-10 at halftime. Christ’s eventually created an overlap after 16 phases and a somewhat fortuitous reclaiming of the ball after a kick forward from a low pass.
Miyake propelled Christ’s into a 13-12 lead with the first penalty of the second-half, but Christchurch soon regained the ascendency.
In the 42nd minute No.8 Corban Harding charged 30-metres and linked with Yabe whose leaping over a pile of bodies was a showcase of genuine flair.
Christchurch fullback Max Hughes nailed the sideline conversion and a straightforward penalty to extend the advantage to 22-13.
Miyake was dead-eye from 40-meters as Christ’s harbouded genuine hopes of victory. However Christchurch's ability to stretch the defense proved ultimately telling. With about 15 minutes to play Hughes made it 25-16. George Harding’s burst was the exclamation mark.
Hughes was named Player of the Match for his all-round excellence. Others to reveal for Christchurch were prop Ben Lopas and halfback Louie Chapman. The former was like a bull in a China shop while the latter’s astuness kept Christ’s on edge.
Darry led by example for Christ’s and openside Hunter Wilson toiled gamley.
Christchurch tops the UC Championship after five rounds and have scored an impressive 293 points. Christ’s suffered their first loss of the season.
Christchurch is unbeaten in their last 15 UC Championship matches. Their last defeat in the local competition was in the corresponding fixture last year.
Christchurch has won 91 of the 144 meetings stretching back to 1892. Christ’s have only tasted success 44 times with their last home win a 19-8 triumph in 2000. Daniel Carter was Christchurch’s first five that day.
The remainder of the UC Championship matches for this round are on Saturday.
View the UC Championship Results & Standings here
A blistering start has earned New Zealand a 67-0 win over Japan in their opening match of the Under-20 World Cup in France this morning.
New Zealand scored five tries in the opening twenty minutes and wing Jamie Spowart was denied in the 17th minute following a forward pass from a lineout.
Japan initially appeared to be frightened of Leicester Faingaanuku. The former Nelson College wing broke at will in the first quarter and created the Kiwis maiden try after only 52 seconds, bursting down the left-edge and offloading to supporting lock Will Tucker.
Faingaanuku would soon find himself on the scoresheet, finishing acrobatically after halfback Xavier Roe caught Japan napping down the short side. The same combination engineered New Zealand’s fourth try with Roe breaking from the back of a lineout at halfway.
Vilimoni Koroi is the most accomplished player in the New Zealand team with extensive experience in internationals sevens. The fullback collected New Zealand’s third try gathering a deft chip kick by first-five Kaleb Trask.
The most impressive individual effort was from centre Bailyn Sullivan who caught a kickoff from inside the 22 and dashed coast to coast, fending off the Japanese fullback with disdain.
Down 29-0, Japan managed to keep New Zealand scoreless for the next 17 minutes while being denied a five-pointer themselves at the 26 minute mark. Japan’s strong mauling from lineouts was especially eye catching.
New Zealand went to the interval with a 36-0 lead when captain Tom Christie scored.
The heavens opened making the ball exceptionally greasy in the second-spell. New Zealand committed nearly two dozen handling errors, but still managed to score five tries.
Roe continted his top form. A trademark snipe brought the Hamilton halfback within inches of the line. John Akau'ola-Laula muscled over for the finnish and then Roe illustrated his own muscle by ripping the ball from the grasp of the Japanese No.8 and scampering clear.
Spowart claimed a second-half hat-trick with his second try after an hour a real highlight. New Zealand stretched to both touchilnes and involved almost the entire team in a superior display of skill.
Trask kicked six conversions.
Wellington College hosted neighbours St Pat’s Town today in one of the country’s oldest sporting exchanges.
St Pat’s Town won the rugby in a thriller, while Wellington College took the football, basketball and golf ties.
Scores at a glance:
Wellington College led St Pat’s Town 1-0 at halftime in the football up on the school’s artificial field, doubling their advantage in the second half. The golf, played at Miramar Links, came down to the final stroke of the match play format with St Pat’s Town missing their last putt.
The 133rd rugby meeting between the two schools was a thriller.
Down 0-19, and permanently reduced to 14 players after 25 minutes (plus a sin-binning) Town rallied to win 31-26.
The winning try was scored with about three minutes remaining when reserve forward Liam McAree busted through the hosts defence at halfway and strode away like an antelope to propel the visitors into their only lead of the match.
Earlier, Town completely dominanted possession and territory but failed to break through and score and also turned down kickable penalties.
The game was turned on its head soon after when Wellington College broke out and Town second-five Sanele Aukusitino deliberately slapped the ball out when Wellington looked likely to cross.
Aukusitino was yellow carded for the offense and a penalty try was awarded. A short time later lock Dominic Bell was red carded for a senseless stomp on the head.
Predictably Wellington assumed control and established an apparently comfortable lead with tries to wing Kalin Letoa and prop Filemoni Sului. They led 14-0at halftime.
It was No.8 Keelan Whitman that inspired Town’s revival. An offload in the grasp of two defenders created a try for blindside Josh Mallon and then a storming 30-metre burst from the next kick-off saw wing Jeremiah Lokeni dash clear.
Wellington regained the ascendency with 15 minutes to go, their fourth try making the score 26-12.
However Whitman continued his devasting form scoring a Lomu like try from 30-metres out to close the gap to 26-17.
With about eight minutes left Lokeni propped up on the right wing to complete his double and make it 26-22. Boston Christie dramatically nailed the sideline conversion to make it 26-24 setting the stage for McAree’s heroics.
It’s the first time since 2015, St Pat’s Town has won the fixture and their 46th victory overall. Wellington has claimed 80 wins while there have been the five draws stretching back to 1885. The last draw was 3-3 in 1984, the first year the Centennial Shield was awarded for the encounter.
Speaking at the after-match captain Whitman captured the drama succinctly when he laconically quipped, “What a game, like far.”
Meanwhile in the other big rugby traditional fixture today, New Plymouth Boys’ High School edged Francis Douglas Memorial College 22-19. The match was level for some time until the visitors nudged ahead with a penalty.
Video highlights of the rugby below:
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New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Craig Philpott has named his side to open their World Rugby U20 Championship campaign in France tomorrow morning.New Zealand will face Japan in Narbonne, France, kick off 7am NZT.
1. Xavier Numia - Wellington
2. Flynn Thomas - Southland
3. Tevita Mafileo - Bay of Plenty
4. John Akau'ola-Laula - Auckland
5. Will Tucker - Canterbury
6. Tom Florence - Taranaki
7. Tom Christie - captain - Canterbury
8. Hoskins Sotutu - Auckland
9. Xavier Roe - Waikato
10. Kaleb Trask - Bay of Plenty
11. Leicester Faingaanuku - Tasman
12. Billy Proctor - Wellington
13. Bailyn Sullivan - Waikato
14. Jamie Spowart - Tasman
15. Vilimoni Koroi - Otago
16. Ricky Jackson - Otago
17. Sione Asi - Manawatu
18. Rob Cobb - Auckland
19. Waimana Riedlinger-Kapa - Auckland
20. Will Tremain - Hawke's Bay
21. Jay Renton - Southland
22. Harry Plummer - Auckland
23. Scott Gregory - Northland
Philpott said the team has adjusted well in France and players were looking forward to their first match.
“We were travelling for the best part of 40 hours so arrived here reasonably jaded. We’ve had three or four days to get our feet on the ground and some really good training runs and we’re in pretty good shape to come out and perform against Japan,” he said.
In selecting the team for the first match against Japan, Philpott said workload management was at front of mind.
“We’ve got five Test matches in 19 days and a squad of 28; you need to make sure you manage combinations so that you get the very best out of all 28 players. Over these first two games we want to make sure everybody gets an opportunity to contribute and so we are managing the workload accordingly.”
The New Zealand Under 20 team will be looking to continue their form that saw them go through the Oceania Championship undefeated.
“We haven’t had a chance to see any footage of Japan play so the focus has been on us; we’ve been working on our structures in attack and defence and getting them back in place, making sure everyone is really clear how we want to play the game.”
Follow this link for an audio file of Coach Craig Philpott.
Media opportunities during tournament
New Zealand Rugby will provide audio content throughout the tournament. For any specific media requests, please contact Libby Boggs to arrange.
World Rugby U20 Championship fixtures
New Zealand v Japan
Thursday 31 May
New Zealand v Wales
Monday 4 June
New Zealand v Australia
Friday 8 June
All matches will be broadcast on TVNZ Duke and streamed live on tvnz.co.nz
The Wellington First XV Rugby Premiership kicks off tomorrow. St Patrick’s College, Silverstream are the defending champions, but there are nine other contenders and a wealth of talent to be enjoyed in 2018.
Below are 10 players – one from each team – who should go well this year.
Rocco Berry (St Patrick’s College, Silverstream) – Man of the match in his school’s televised 26-14 win over Gisborne BHS last Friday night, Berry is a versatile outside back that has represented the Wellington U16’s and has pedigree being the son of former All Black Marty Berry. Silverstream will be favoured to defend their title with the vast majority of their forward back returning, including WRFU academy members Iona Apineru and Luke Chisholm. However NZ Schools flanker Josh Southall has been ruled out for the season with injury. His likely replacement is brother Mitch Southall who accompanied Berry in the Wellington U16's last year.
Roderick Solo (Scots College) – A standout at the Condor Sevens where his school finished runners-up, Solo made the tournament team. The National secondary schools hurdles champion has speed to burn and will be a lethal finisher from fullback or the wing. Solo will be well supported in a strong Scots team by the likes of Caleb Cavubati, Sage Shaw-Tait, Jaylen Tuapola and Ezekiel Fiso, and year 11 prop Jonty Bird – younger brother of Alex Fidow.
Ish Perkins (Wellington College) – Wherever he lines up in the backline he’ll be a threat to opposing defences with his ability to step off both feet and willingness to try and beat his marker. Likely start at first-five, Perkins will have to be careful not to overplay his hand in a relatively small and young team. Year 11 prop Toby Cook is a promising prospect and openside Ridge Studd is a welcome addition.
Sam Donaldson (St Pat’s Town) - The openside is a robust defender who carries strongly. Sam’s older brother Zac played for Hawke’s Bay last year and his father Glenn coached Town to two Premiership titles. Town will be strongly led by New Zealand U18 Maori rep Keelan Whitman while Tom Walsh is another loose forward to monitor.
Steven Va’a (Rongotai College) – Powerful midfield back who brings experience and leadership, Va’a is in his third year in the First XV and was a member of the group that contested the 2017 Condor Sevens in Auckland. Rheon Paul is another outside back with an abundance of pace who is poised to excite. Rongotai had a poor season in 2017, but contested the semi finals in 2016, twice beating Silverstream on their home ground.
Sam Smith (Wairarapa College) – This year’s captain, the No.8 will look to provide plenty go forward for his side. Maybe the best prospect to come out of the school since Levi Harmon and Bruce Kauika-Petersen, both of whom have achieved representative honours. Wairarapa have made a big impression in Premiership since being admitted three years ago. In 2015 they upset Wellington College. In 2016, Scots College were toppled en route to the semi-finals and last year two wins were achieved.
Jabez Peniata (Porirua College) - The lock forward made the Wellington U16's last year and impressed with his dominance on defence and at the breakdown during the grading games. Porirua made the Hurricanes co-ed final in 2017 narrowly losing to Feilding High School who later finished runners-up nationally. Porirua’s strength was their forward play and another quality performer is Year 13 prop Taua Tonumaipe'a whose bustling carries saw him score five tries in three grading games. (This statement is incorrect since they only played two qualifying games, so ….. whose bustling carries have seen him score five tries in their games so far, including qualifying wins over Hutt Valley HS and Kapiti College.)
Drew Wagg (Kapiti College) – A natural player with great instincts, the openside flanker is only Year 12 and skilled at both the breakdown and as a link player with his backline. Kapiti won four games in the Premiership last year, including an upset victory over Rongotai College. However with no Second XV or U15 side they will be counting on few injures.
Sene Faasoa (St Bernard’s College) – In his second year in the First XV the athletic Year 12 lock/flanker will get around the park and look to spark his team both on attack and defense. Was picked in the Wellington U16 squad last year. Brad Pritchard is another tough and tall forward who clearly expressed some thoughts about his side below.
Joel Cutler (Hutt International Boys’ School) – Another openside flanker, Cutler is HIBS’ Head Boy in 2018. A tenacious player who will contest every breakdown he also has an eye for the gap with ball in hand. Garry Green, HIBS leading try scorer, will provide punch at second five and Louis Calvert is an industrious loose forward who will also line up in the front row at times.
St Patrick's College, Silverstream defeated visitors New Plymouth Boys' High School 22-10 in the First XV rugby and 3-2 in the First XI football in their annual exchange this afternoon.
A fast start propelled Silverstream to their a 22-10 rugby win.
Two tries in the first five minutes rocked the visitors who fought bravely, but never looked like winners.
Shortly after the kickoff, Silverstream first-five Sam Clarke pierced through the New Plymouth defence travelling from 22 to 22 before transferring to fullback Rocco Berry who switched back to Clark to finish in the corner. The conversion missed and it was 5-0.
Silverstream blindside Iona Apineru was a destructive presence often making a series of shattering tackles, but it was his sleight of hand which created a second try. Offloading nimbly in contact created an overlap which was eventually completed by prop Luke Chisholm after a 30-meter charge from wing Fritz Rayasi.
When New Plymouth rarely acquired possession they looked promising, especially second-five Daniel Rona. However it was the forwards who took initial credit on the scoreboard with prop Tuterangi Anderson rumbling over from a lineout drive.
Silverstream had the last say of the first-half when halfback Swayde Brightwell charged down an attempted clearance, juggling the rebound to cross the chalk for his second try in as many games.
The second-half was an error ridden affair. Silverstream left several points out on the field with Raysai breaking at will and Riley Higgins and Sivarn Owens-Agnew being called back after receiving forward passes.
Rayasi did eventually record Silverstream's fourth try about ten minutes before time when he slipped his smaller marker and galloped 40-metres
New Plymouth, featuring six Year 11 students, were well organised and battled honourably. Workhorse lock Josh Clark scored the last try to make the final score. 22-10.
This fixture was the 87th meeting between the two schools. New Plymouth have won 53 times and Silverstream on 30 occasions with a third of their wins coming since 2004. The four draws happened in 1936, 1948, 1966 and 1995.
Silverstream retains the McDonald Shield which has been up for grabs since 1999.
In the First XI football Silverstream edged New Plymouth 3-2. Scores were tied 1-1 at halftime, but two goals early in the second half was the telling difference despite a late resurgence by New Plymouth. Ben Taylor (2) and Jack Antonopoulos scored the victors goals while Ben Wilson and Daniel Cleland impressed for New Plymouth.
In the other big rugby traditional today Southland Boys’ High School and Otago Boys’ High School shared a 14-14 draw. Otago scored the first try, only for Southland to respond twice before Otago ensured this tussle dating back to last century was drawn for the first time since 2010.
OBHS missed a penalty on fulltime to win.
Above: Try scoring highlights in the First XV rugby fixture
Below: Rugby exchange records between the two schools.
The 2018 Black Ferns contracted squad is:
Bay of Plenty
Les Elder (nee Ketu)
Bay of Plenty
Joanah Ngan Woo
Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate
The 28 contracted players include 17 Black Ferns from the 2017 World Cup winning side.
Among them is legendary hooker and 2017 World Cup winning captain Fiao’o Faamausili who has put her retirement from international rugby on hold.
Black Ferns Head Coach Glenn Moore said Faamausili was encouraged to lace up her boots and put herself in a position to be considered for the Black Ferns again to bolster the experience among what is likely to be a mixed squad of familiar and new players.
“We are thrilled to offer Fi a contract. She is as fit as she's ever been and is super passionate about being inolved. There are a number of new faces among those named and to have Fi’s skills and experience to call on will be invaluable. She also brings fantastic skills in her position and it’s an area we need to develop with newer players. She can help us with that.
"Among this squad are a number of very talented young players who have been working hard in their clubs and Provincial Unions. Our talent identification programme has helped us develop depth in our wider player pool and the Black Ferns performance at the World Cup has given players something to aspire to."
Moore said the 28 players announced today weren’t necessarily guaranteed a spot in the 2018 Black Ferns team and they would need to continue to work hard in their club teams and provinces to be considered for the black jersey.
“We have a Black Ferns training camp in mid-June when we’ll get a much better idea of how everyone is tracking. There’s also the possibility we’ll offer a contract to players outside of the initial contracted squad.”
Moore said there were two more contracted positions to be filled.
A further 20 women will be identified to make up a wider training squad. The non-contracted players will be part of a high-performance training programme designed to identify and develop the best female rugby talent.
NZR Head of Women’s Rugby Cate Sexton said the signing of contracts, under the newly introduced Black Ferns Performance Programme, marked a significant moment in rugby and reflected the growing interest in women’s rugby in New Zealand as well as globally.
“We have a very talented pool of female players to select from and the pool is increasing every year. We want to make sure we nurture our talent and provide our best players with the training and support they need to achieve at the highest level.
"These contracted players will receive a guaranteed retainer to train, assembly fees when they come together for Black Ferns camps and the medical and technical services they need as elite athletes.”
Sexton said girls and women were signing up to play in record numbers all around the country and it was the fastest growing area of rugby.
“It’s an exciting time for women’s rugby and I’m very proud we’ve taken the step forward to contract our female 15s players along with our sevens squad.”
NZR recently announced the Black Ferns would play two Test matches against Australia for the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy. Both August Tests will be double-header fixtures with the All Blacks Bledisloe Cup matches versus Australia.
On 3 November, the Black Ferns will face USA Eagles women in a triple header with the Maori All Blacks v USA Eagles and Ireland v Italy at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Sexton said additional Black Ferns Test matches for their end of year tour programme, would be announced soon.
About the contracts
Scroll down to the bottom to see some try scoring video highlights from Napier Boys’ High School v Wellington College and Palmerston North Boys’ High School v St Pat's Town yesterday
The Super 8 competition is one of the toughest in New Zealand and starts in a fortnight – to view the teams and draw visit College Rugby here
The four Super 8 schools competing in the just completed Hurricanes region pre-season Tranzit Coachlines Festival have had finished the three-week series with upper hand over the four Wellington schools.
This weekend’s round three results from games played at Westpac Stadium and Porirua Park were:
Round two results from Hastings were:
Round one results from Masterton were:
Reports of two full matches in the third round on Friday and Saturday:
St Pat’s Silverstream accounted for Gisborne Boys' High School 26-14 at Westpac Stadium. Silverstream produced a strong opening quarter, withstood a determined second-half fight back, before finishing with a classy try to Riley Higgins.
Silverstream skipped out to a 14-0 lead after 20 minutes with tries to Jacob Beattie and Chris Hemi. Beattie was the recipient of a fine pass from prop Luke Chisholm while Hemi burst 20-metres untouched from a lineout.Gisborne gradually fought back and after a sustained assault on the Silverstream line, Jordan McFarlane powered over to make it 14-7 at the interval.
The key moment of the match was a breakout try to Silverstream's reserve halfback Swayde Brightwell. Gisborne was camped inside Silverstream's 22, but a fumble was collected by wing Sivarn Owens-Agnew who dashed 80-meters before unloading to Brightwell who battled over despite the presence of three Gisborne defenders.
Gisborne kept pressing and a quick tap by halfback Quintony Ngati reduced the deficit to five. Silverstream regrouped and slick moment involving half a dozen players saw Higgins touch down to secure Silverstream their fourth victory in seven games against Gisborne.
Silverstream fullback Rocco Berry was named Player of the Match. Berry was consistently illusive and showed the ability to clear with his boot when required. Iona Apineru, Hemi, Chisolm and Higgins were also central to Silverstream's success. MacFarlane and Dylan Hall appear to be quality loose forwards for Gisborne and First-five Quinn Collard was creative at times.
Napier Boys’ High School overpowered Wellington College 40-3 to retain the Amner Cup and complete the three weeks undefeated.
Played in gusty conditions at Jerry Collins Stadium, Napier hurried to a 17-0 lead utilising their greater size to bust tackles and establish a dominant position.
Tighthead prop Patrick Teddy rumbled over for the first try, but it was his front row partner Tyrone Thompson who was the Player of the Maatch. The Napier hooker and captain scored three tries and often bullied the Wellington defence with his strong carries.
As a spectacle it was a game dominated by whistle. Both teams struggled with their discipline and the contest petered out lamely after the visitors lively start and toppages which allowed little flow.
Wellington don’t lack heart, but are a considerably smaller and younger than previous teams. It might only be pre-season, but alarmingly Wellington conceded 139 points in three Tranzit Festival games.
Napier’s prospects appear to be brighter in 2018. An athletic forward pack is complemented by a reasonable backline spearheaded by Henry Williams educated boot. Napier might not be world beaters, but they won’t be a pushover in Super 8. In addition to Thompson, lock Frank Lochore and blindside Josh Gimblett performed strongly.
In the two other games at Porirua on Saturday, it was an even first 25 minutes between Palmerston North Boys’ High School and St Pat’s Town, before PNBHS flyhalf Stewart Cruden showed his class by running from a scrum near halfway and setting up a try for right wing Will Treder. St Pat’s replied with their only try of the match right on halftime and PNBHS led 13-5 at the interval.
But a PNBHS breakout early in the second spell saw Treder sprint 70 metres to score his second try to extend the lead to 18-5. From there, the visitors pulled clear and won comfortably.
Defending national champions Hastings Boys’ High School led Scots College 12-0 at halftime before going ton to win 22-12.
It was three years in the making and cost $6,000 per student, but 28 rugby players from Hutt International Boys’ School have a lifetime of memories to take away from 18 days in South Africa.
In 2012, Matt Sexton was coaching the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth and it was this connection coupled with current employment by New Zealand Rugby and his two sons attending HIBS that was the catalyst for the bold tour.
School Captain Joel Cutler explains what was involved in making the idea a reality once the school board approved.
“The boys who were interested in attending had to commit to fundraising, small things at first like a car wash once a week before the bigger events,” he says.
“The biggest fundraiser was a Gala night in July last year. Norm Hewitt (whose son Alex attends HIBS) was the guest speaker and there was entertainment, food and prizes. It was amazing the support we got,” Cutler continued.
HIBS touched down in Johannesburg before heading to Port Elizabeth where they also spent some time in a poorer township before concluding their visit in Cape Town.
Louis Calvert is First XV captain and explains the rugby varied greatly, but was always challenging and educational.
“Our first game was against Grey College which is a really big rugby school in South Africa. Basically every boy at Grey plays rugby so being a smaller New Zealand school we didn’t play their top team, but they still fielded a very good side who beat us by a bit.”
“The match in the township was really loose. Our opponents didn’t play with a lot of structure, but we managed to beat them.”
“The third match was the closest game. We lost by one point, but weren’t too happy with the refereeing while the last game we won easily against a more academic school. We played well and it was a nice way to end the tour.”
The tour included sightseeing at the Table Mountain, a game reserve and about a dozen braaivleis. However both boys agree the highlight was giving back in the township. Cutler captures the atmosphere.
“Nothing could have prepared us for the poverty. It was outrageous. The kids had very little, but they were so happy when we came. There was a language barrier, but we ran coaching clinics, supplied gifts and hopefully touched them in a positive way,” he says.
Back in Wellington HIBS aim is to qualify for the Premiership. On Saturday they lost 20-29 to Rongotai College with four key players injured, but have two more chances to reach the top grade in the next fortnight. This Saturday they play Mana College at home at 2.30pm.
Ten minutes with Brad Thorn is all it took for Tiennan Costley to significantly boost his knowledge of leadership.
The Westlake Boys’ High School First XV captain approached the legendary dual international while his team was on a lunch break during a training session with the Queensland Reds on a recent Australian tour. Costley shares some of the advice sought.
“Meeting Brad Thorn was like meeting God. He has such an inspirational presence. I was nervous, but he was really friendly. I asked him if he had experienced any lows during his career and how he had handled them. Brad told me you have to have a mindset of greatness. When he was losing a lot in Japan he formed a group which sought to change the mentality of the team and his will improved their results.”
Westlake is hoping to go one better in 2017. Last year they were tipped over by Rosmini College in the 1A final after topping the round robin. What lessons were learned?
“We beat Takapuna Grammar 95-0 in the round robin, but only 17-5 in the semi-final. You can’t take anything for granted. Every team builds and improves so you have to have the mentality of greatness even if things appear easy,” Costley responds.
This Saturday Westlake tackles Massey High School. Westlake beat Massey twice in 2017 and three times on their way to the North Harbour title in 2016. This should be a routine win for Westlake?
“Not at all,” Costley retorts.
“Massey are big boys who give it nothing less than 100%. They are a dangerous team who can score from anywhere at anytime. Were going to have to muscle up defensively to get a win,” he continued.
Defence was a big feature of Westlake’s 15-9 win over Rangitoto College last Saturday. Costley captures the final moments.
“We were defending our goal line for ages. Rangitoto really brought it to us as all teams do when they play Westlake. Westlake has a great history so everytime we play there is a target on our backs.”
Westlake has a young team in 2018 with the majority of the squad Year 11 and 12. Three players to watch closely are prop Sean Vete whose in his second year and enjoys calculus. Ethan MacDonald is a North Harbour age group representative loose forward with the height to cover lock and their are high hopes for rookie Chase Harris a versatile outside back with an extensive background in touch.
Costley is a third year lock and is known for his strong ball carriers. He has firm ambitions in 2018.
“My first goal is to ensure Westlake does well. As the captain I have a responsibility to do my best by the team. Personally I would like to make the Blues Under-18 camp and see where that leads,” Costley concludes.
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