The following teams set a fast pace in term two team competitions. Can they maintain their form and collect the spoils this term?
Boys: Saint Kentigern College - The defending 1A Auckland champions have won 19 games in a row in the local competition and boast a faultless record in 2018. A well-balanced team with strength in both the forwards and the backs, St Kent’s overpowered Sacred Heart College 29-6 in their top of the table televised meeting on rugby on 23 June.
Standout players for St Kent’s include: Sila Tituti who scored two tries from No.8 in the aforementioned game. Elusive fullback Peni Lasaqa and New Zealand Schools representatives Tamaiti Williams (prop), Rivez Reihana (first-five) and Isaiah Punivai (Midfield).
St Pats Silverstream (18) and Christchurch Boys’ High School (19) are other teams enjoying unbeaten streaks in their local competitions.
Girls: St Mary’s College are ‘re-building’ this year, and on the evidence of their form so far they’re doing a good job at it. The girls Top 4 Hine Pounamu Trophy is the first thing a visitor sees when entering the school’s reception, and they won’t be keen on relinquishing it just yet. They are unbeaten in Wellington and late last term swept away Feilding High School in a friendly match.
Key fit and firing players over the next several weeks leading up to the 25 August Hurricanes schoolgirls final include outside back Dhys Faleafaga and fullback Julie Tusa (both playing club rugby for top Wellington side Norths) and props Laina Semu and Nive Leota.
Boys: Mount Albert Grammar School - MAGS were third at the National Secondary Schools championships last year and before the school holidays became the first team in 2018 to beat defending National champions Rosmini College.
Mt Albert had only scored 42 points at the three-quarter mark (leading 42-39) but exploded for 34 points in the final period to beat Rosmini 76-63. Ryan Laumatia, having been kept quiet by Rosmini up until that point scored 13 of his 17 points in the fourth. Aided by a couple of threes from Sataan Tawera and 8 points from Nate Wilson MAGS closed out the game for a seventh straight win.
MAGS have beaten every team in the Auckland competition and boast the best defensive and second best offensive record.
The MAGS girls are second in the Auckland competition as well with an 8-2 records suggesting that North Shore schools might not have it all their own way. Auckland Girls Grammar School head Auckland Premier Girls basketball with an 11-0 record.
Girls: St Peter’s Cambridge - It’s hard to ignore the juggernaut that is St Peter’s. The National runners-up in 2017 were champions in 2015 and 2016. St Peter’s are unbeaten this year and in Ella Bradley and Charlisse Leger-Walker feature the two best age group players in the country. Both girls are with the New Zealand Under-17 team at the World Championships at present and both featured in Waikato’s National Under-19 tournament success, top scoring in the final. Leger-Walker won a bronze medal with the Tall Ferns at the Commonwealth Games in April, top scoring in the playoff.
Boys: St Thomas Canterbury of Canterbury College - St Thomas were second in the Canterbury Youth league last season, but went onto surprise at Nationals finishing fourth and only losing two players this season. St Thomas have made a great start to the Youth League winning all eight games and outscoring opponents 36-5. Highlights of the season include winning the Brentwood Trophy against Shirley Boys’ High School and the Connetics Shield against Burnside High School. The Connetics Shield is like the Ranfurly Shield of school football in Christchurch. The team is superbly led by New Zealand Schools skipper Tom Stewart.
National champions Hamilton Boys’ High School recently won the Super 8 while St Kentigern College and Sacred Heart College occupy the top two places in Auckland and were National semi-finalists last year.
Girls: Saint Kentigern College - The defending Auckland champions head the Premier League with just one defeat in 11 games. St Kent’s have outscored opponents 40-12 and are three points clear of second-placed Epsom Girls Grammar who did beat St Kent’s 3-1 on June 24, but have scored 10 fewer goals. St Kent’s are the reigning National Champions and in Hannah Blake boast a striker who is good enough to start for the New Zealand Under-20’s, providing a potentially cutting edge difference to their roster.
Boys: Westlake Boys’ High School - Westlake won the Rankin Cup as recently as 2015 and have scored 25 unanswered goals in four Super City games. St Kent’s are chasing hard having blanked four teams and scored 13 times. Daniel Woud has been an especially effective player. Saint Kentigern College and Westlake BHS were the only unbeaten teams at the ANZAC tourney with St Kent’s piling on 17 goals and only conceding twice in five games. Hamilton BHS held the Auckland powerhouse to a draw and Westlake shared two of their fixtures at that event.
The Super 8 tournament is held in New Plymouth in a fortnight's time and will provide a strong gauge of where many of the typically strong teams nationally are at. Palmerston North Boys’ High School are the top seeds and defending champions.
Girls: St Cuthbert’s College - St Cuthbert's College have scored 25 goals in winning all four of their Super City games thus far. Their wins have been 9-0 over St Mary’s College, 3-0 over Auckland Dio, 6-4 over Westlake Girls’ High School, and 7-0 over Baradene College. The Super City competition resumes this Thursday night with round 5 of 7. The defending national champions are poised to take a clear lead the top the table (current joint leaders Dio having played an extra game) with victory over Kristin School this week.
As always, the Connetics Canterbury Girls Championship is hotly contested this year. There are three rounds to play in the round-robin, resuming this week. After seven rounds Rangi Ruru Girls’ School are leading on 19 points with St Margaret’s second on 17 and Villa Maria on 12. Rangi Ruru and St Margaret’s play this coming Friday in a feature clash.
Epsom Girls’ Grammar School - The Auckland Secondary School Premier competition still has five rounds of 11 to play, resuming this week. At the school holiday break, Epsom Girls’ Grammar School were unbeaten with six wins. EGGS have so far beaten Macleans College 46-21, Aorere College 61-20, Howick College 41-28, McAuley High School 44-32, Baradene College 34-28 and Botany Downs 56-28.
But hot on EGGS’ heels are perennial contenders Mount Albert Grammar School and Saint Kentigern College, both just back in second and third. MAGS are also unbeaten, but were held to a 37-37 draw by One Tree Hill College. MAGS beat St Kent’s 45-38 in their last match before the holidays, which is the latter’s only loss.
Westlake Girls’ High School are in fourth with four wins, while last year’s national champions Howick College are in eighth of 12 teams with two wins, two losses and a draw – but have a catch-up game to play.
A feature match upon the resumption of the competition sees EGGS take on MAGS. EGGS meets St Kent’s in the final round on 18 August.
In Wellington, the Regional competition’s third round set of matches of seven is tonight (Monday). St Mary’s College, Sacred Heart College and St Oran’s College are the three schools that won their first two matches pre-school holidays.
In Canterbury, the Super Net competition gets underway this Wednesday, with the first of three round-robin matches split in two pools.
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