New Zealand’s top First XV rugby players have been selected to attend the New Zealand Schools development camp in Palmerston North next weekend.
Of the 53 player selected, 26 schools are represented from 12 Provincial Unions.
The three-day camp in Palmerston North will culminate with the New Zealand Schools and New Zealand Barbarians Schools teams being named.
Of the selected players, experience comes in the form of nine players who were involved in the 2017 schools programme, while Sam Smith represents Heartland Unions out of Wairarapa College. Saint Kentigern has the most players selected, with eight, followed by Christs College and Scots College with four players each.
The teams will be announced on 23 September.
The Players are:
New Zealand Schools v Tonga Schools, Brisbane
New Zealand Barbarians Schools v New Zealand Maori Under 19, Wellington
New Zealand Schools v Australian schools Barbarians, Brisbane
New Zealand Barbarians Schools v Fiji Schools, Wellington
New Zealand Schools v Australian Schools, Brisbane
Five wins in a row by a combined margin of eight points has earned St Peter's College a third National Top Four Championship.
In a season dedicated to fallen and influential rugby alumni, Jamie Brown, Dylan Mika and Peter Watt, St Peter's stunned Napier Boys’ High School 31-28 - rallying from a 21-0 deficit.
Down 21-12 two inspirational moments from captain Niko Jones propelled St Peter's into a lead they never lost.
In the 42nd minute Jones rejected the prospect of a straight forward penalty kick, opting instead for a scrum inside the Napier 22. In an almost identical fashion, and at the same time as Friday's try against Hamilton Boys’ High School, Jones combined with his halfback to set up wing PJ Tonga.
A few moments later Napier bobbled a lineout on halfway and Jones retrieved the loose ball and strode into the clear. Exhibiting startling acceleration Jones pulled clear off the Napier chasers and St Peter’s led 22-21. The conversion from the side-line by AJ Faleafaga made it 24-21.
Napier responded with a concerted assault on the St Peter’s line. Prop Patrick Teddy knocked on attempting to reach out. From the five-meter scrum St Peter’s centre Apetone Vaka busted and reached the Napier 22, unloading for openside Chris Halaufia who finished spectacularly. Again Faleafaga was on target from touch.
Halaufia would have been most relived with his contribution. In the first-half he burst clear, only to stumble agonisingly short and surrender a penalty. Napier failed to find touch from the clearance kick, but when fullback Josh Loveday was charged down by Napier pivot Henry Williams it was suddenly 21-0 - the latter sprinting 50-metres.
Napier’s start was passionate and polished. The first try was scored by wing Jayden Stok, joining a dozen players in a maul.
Napier doubled their advantage when Teddy muscled over following sustained ‘pick and goes.’ Teddy, or ‘Baby Yoda’ because of his uncanny resemblance to Napier Boys’ All Black Greg Somerville, has been a consistent and powerful performer all season.
What triggered the turnaround?
Vice-Captain Loveday was sensationally dragged following the Williams setback. The inexperienced Faleafaga (Year 10) was moved to fullback where he had more room to express himself while Reece Suesue steadied the ship at ten.
St Peter’s forwards boasted their intensity and Jones was able to manufacture a try for Vaka just before the break to make the halftime score 21-5.
St Peter’s lock Leo Ngatai-Tafau was one of the Saints best at this top four and a stolen lineout resulted in a try for prop ‘Mount’ Zyon Holo after patience side to side attack.
Down 31-21, Napier showed their fighting qualities when hooker Tyrone Thompson battered through with ten minutes to spare.
St Peter’s have become masters of winning the tight tussles though and with Jones in rare form the Saints were generally able to anchor themselves in the right part of the field and terminate the clock.
Napier fell short for the fifth time in the decider. Remarkably in the 37 year history of the National Top Four, a Hawke’s Bay school has been represented 15 times.
St Peter’s finished the season with a 17-3 record and the Moascar Cup for the first time since 2000. St Peter’s won the National Top Four previously in 1987 and 2000.
It’s hard to think of a more stirring run of victories from any top four winner than what the ‘Slender Saints’ have pulled off in 2018. From fourth in Auckland to first in New Zealand.
St Peter’s giant killing run
1A Semi-Final: St Kentigern College, 22-21
1A Final: King’s College, 29-28
Blues Final: Westlake Boys’ High School, 19-17
National Top Four Semi-Final: Hamilton Boys’ High School, 8-7
National Top Four Final: Napier Boys’ High School, 31-28
Hamilton Boys’ High School made a lightning start against Christchurch Boys’ High School, scoring three converted tries and taking a 21-0 lead, on their way to their 43-25 win in the boys 3 v 4 match.
Christchurch came roaring back to score three tries themselves, but none were converted from wide out and they approached halftime trailing 15-21. Christchurch did well not to concede another try in the lead-up to the oranges but desperate defence saved the day.
However Hamilton took control of the second half, laying on the game’s next three tries, all from attacking scrums inside Christchurch’s 22. This advanced their lead to 36-15.
Christchurch scored off a lineout drive to close to 36-20, but Hamilton crossed again to seal the win. The South Island champions had the final say, scoring to make the final score 43-25 to Hamilton.
Hamilton Girls' muzzle Manukura
Hamilton Girls’ High School are National champions for a third time trouncing Manukura 42-7. Hamilton won all 16 games this season and scored 962 points.
The first 20 minutes was evenly contested, but a four try flurry before the interval settled the outcomeHamilton tighthead Vic Rose-Green was named the D3 player of the match. She scored two tries, one in each half, and delivered a skip pass to Lela Ieremia to engineer another try in an imperious display.
Manukura briefly held a 7-5 lead when a Carys Dalinger pass hit Nicola Chase in the clear, but an instant reply by Hamilton hooker Hunter Randle, following a bulldozing charge by lock Veisinia Fakelau, restored Hamilton’s advantage.
A fumble by Dallenger, swooped upon by Kiriana Nolan, was the setback that really hurt Manukura. It was a soft concession after an honest fight.
Hamilton turned with a 25-7 buffer after Shae Daily scored the sixth try of the first-half supporting a Jazmin Hotham bust.
After five misses openside Nyesha Hamilton wobbled over a penalty to make it 28-7.
Standout halfback Montessa Tairakena produced the most memorable moment of the second period with a 50-meter runaway.
Manukura only formed a First XV in 2014. They are well led by Lucy Brown and Kalyn Takitimu-Cook, Carys Dalinger and Nicola Chase have already featured in the Manawatu women's team. The future appears to be bright.
Hamilton holds both the National Sevens and First XV crowns.
Superior physicality and size paved the way for Aorere College’s 39-24 win over Southland Girls’ High School in the 3 v 4 girls playoff.
Playing with width and speed, Southland leapt to a three-try, 17-0 lead inside as many minutes and a one-sided win to the 2016 winners appeared likely.
But Aorere got their hands on the ball and employed a direct running approach. Keeping the ball close to the ruck, they made inroads and broke through to score the game’s next three tries and take a 17-15 lead into halftime. Hard running No. 8 Ana Mamea scored two of these tries.
Early in the second half a booming break by openside flanker Hulita Ahosivi set up a second try to midfielder Jireh Malo, and then No. 8 Mamea crossed for her hat-trick from a 5-metre scrum and the Aucklanders led 29-17.
Aorere scored two more tries, including a second to openside Ahovisi to lead 39-17 with about 10 minutes to play.
Southland kept fighting and their reward was the final two tries of the match, one each to their locks Jaidene Marshall and Libby Napier.
St Peter's Cambridge have become the first team since St Kentigern College in 2011 to successfully defend the National co-ed title - pipping Rangiora High School 33-26.
The winning try was scored with five minutes remaining by No.8 Andrew Viane, smashing through the last line of defense after persistent attack. The winning moment could be described as a ‘Cinderella’ try. Viane finished despite a lost boot a couple of phases earlier.
Such an intense climax appeared unlikely when St Peter's charged to a 19-0 lead in as many minutes. Wing Justin Vela-Reynolds, halfback Cam Roigard and Viane crossed the chalk in a clinical opening.
Roigard appears to be a particularly promising prospect. A swift and accurate pass is complimented by an ability to snipe at timely moments.
Rangiora’s first try was scored by centre Anthony Taverdale from a scrum set move, but a Roigard dummy and dart made it 26-7 at halftime.
Rangiora blindside Josh Neilson was tireless and tenacious. A robust carry and offload in a two-man tackle created a try for lively wing Jermaine Pepe. The conversion by Jack Marshall closed the deficit to 26-14.
Rangiora captain and No.8 Angus Fletcher must be knocking on the door of National selection. A huge workrate is combined with intelligence. Rangiora’s third try was the best illustration of Fletcher’s qualities.
Fletcher bumped the ball halfway up the padding of the posts before lowering it in the grasp of a tackle to the base to secure five points.
With 12 minutes left Rangiora squared the ledger when reserve wing Rawiri Peita-King dotted down in the corner outflanking St Peter's retreating cover.
St Peter's appeared flustered when they lost their structure but earning three of the last four penalties, all from ruck turnovers, helped secure the possession and field position required for victory. Openside Devin Gregory was a strong presence for St Peter’s and lock Vaiolini Ekuasi was occasionally explosive.
Rangiora fullback Del Mackintosh deputised competently at halfback and was well supplied in the second-half by a determined, smaller pack.
Rangiora are one of the most heartwarming stories in First XV rugby in 2018. Three years ago they won four games in the UC Championship. In 2018 they beat Christchurch Boys’ High School for the first time and reached the semi-finals of their local competition playing with local cattle and an abundance of genuine spirit.
Mount Albert Grammar School won the Co-ed third-fourth playoff match, beating locals Feilding High School 16-10.
The Top 4 semi-finals on Friday provided some thrilling rugby at a blustery Sport and Rugby Institute at Massey University in Palmerston North.
Sunday's finals will see St Peter's College play Napier Boys' High School (boys), Rangiora High School meet St Peter's Cambridge (Co-ed) and Hamilton Girls' High School and Manukura square off (girls).
Reports of semi-finals below.
Single Success For St Peter’s Again
St Peter's College will contest the National Top 4 decider for the first time since 2000 after their third one point victory in a finals match this season.
Hamilton Boys’ High School was held scoreless in the second-half of an 8-7 arm wrestle.
The bitterly strong southerly made handling and tactical kicking close to impossible reducing the spectacle to a spluttering, intense affair.
The winning try was scored in the 42nd minute by wing PJ Tonga, crossing in the corner from a perfectly executed 8/9 scrum play. Niko Jones created a hole with a device blindside carry before transferring to halfback Sam Wye who delivered the final pass to Tonga. The movement unfolded just inside the Hamilton 22.
Initially Hamilton started with a precision which would remain illusive for the remainder of the contest. A series of strong phases down the blindside, with heavy involvement from openside flanker Jake Russ and wing Leweni Mocevakaca, finished in a try to Cortez-Lee Ratima.
Ironically a backwards fumble by Lee-Ratima would create hesitation in the St Peter’s defense allowing the halfback to slip through. Demante Murray slotted the conversion and it was 7-0 to Hamilton after six minutes.
Hamilton was able to disrupt St Peter’s lineout regularly in the first-half, but a lapse in discipline allowed Ajay Falefaga to kick a penalty and reduce the deficit to 7-3 - the halftime score.
Much of the match was played between the two 10 metre lines with neither team successfully navigating the wind.
Lee-Ratima followed a break with an ill-advised kick and Hamilton lock Joshua Lord bounced through two tackles and squeezed a pass to fullback Joshua Calvert who split with vacant pasture ahead. Chances were otherwise sparse in the opening 35 minutes.
The second-half was even more grim with St Peter’s defense a catalyst for their success. St Peter’s was able to win several turnovers from holding Hamilton players up and creating mauls.
Loose forwards Jones, Chris Halaufia and Semisi Tapa were busy and abrasive while Leo Ngatai-Taufa became the solitary source of lineout possession and prop ‘Mount’ Zion Holo played himself to a standstill.
In the dying stages Hamilton threatened to win the match in a similar fashion to the Super 8 final. More than a dozen phases were constructed as Hamilton battled gamely into the St Peter’s 22. An expansive pass resulted in a knock on. St Peter’s successfully cleared from the scum.
Lock Josh Lord and captain Thomas Martin were outstanding for Hamilton. Prop Keelan Hotlen McMullen was full of industry and Russ scrapped valiantly.
St Peter’s beat Wellington College 20-12 in their last National Top Four final in 2000.
Napier forwards turn Christchurch Black and Blue
Napier Boys’ High School hold the Moascar Cup for the first time since 2003 and will look to win the National Top Four for the second time after overpowering Christchurch Boys’ High School 31-12.
Napier’s forward pack has won acclaim all season for their rigorous approach and a 17-0 lead established in as many minutes effectively settled the contest.
Napier targeted the fringe of Christchurch’s ruck defence to build momentum and territory. It was a simple but devastatingly effective method.
Flanker Josh Gimblett rumbled over for the first try following a lineout maul before wing Jack Sheridan and prop Patrick Teddy couldn’t be denied from sustained pressure.
Christchurch eventually shored up their defense and did well not concede any more points in the first spell.
Christchurch tried to play more expansively in the second-spell, but conditions made that approach risky. Hooker Henry Craw opened Christchurch's account by finding himself unmarked on the wing, but handling errors soon gifted Napier favourable field position.
Sheridan’s second try made it 24-7. Bruising centre Leo Thompson had tried to reach out a phase early.
Christchurch closed the gap to 24-14 with a second converted score, but fittingly Napier had the final say when substitute Angus Kilmister wriggled through a crowd of bodies.
Hooker Tyrone Thompson led Napier’s superior forward charge. Despite a somewhat lapsed 20 minutes their tactics were ideal for the weather and shouldn’t be altered majorly for Sunday’s decider against St Peter’s.
The last time Napier Boys’ High School contested the top four final was in 2003 when they were beaten by Rotorua Boys’ High School 11-31.
Hamilton Hammer Aorere
Hamilton Girls’ High School overpowered Auckland champions Aorere College 62-5 to earn their place in a fourth consecutive final.
The first-half was genuinely competitive, but the floodgates opened straight after the interval when halfback Montessa Tairakena scored her second try to make it 22-5.
Tairakena bagged a hat-trick and her first was the best, clinically dummying to her inside No.8 and outside wing in a classic halfback dash from a scrum.
Aorere fought back keenly and forced Hamilton into an extended period on defense. However a knock on over the try line resulted in no profit. Hamilton cleared and another fumble allowed centre Jazmin Hotham to dribble the ball football style over the line.
Hotham soon had a second hitting a prefect short ball at pace and dashing 40-meters. Aorere scored a deserved try to first-five Pasty Chan at the end of the first-half.
Loose forwards Ana Mamea and Glory Aiono were the pick of the Aucklanders who lacked the polish of the two-time former champions.
Hamilton’s speed and fitness has seen them amass 920 points in 14 games this season. Openside Nyesha Hamilton scored a try and kicked six conversions - a mighty effort into the wind while lock Veisinia Fakelalu fended off half of the Aorere team in a spectacular 50-metre solo.
Manukura hold off Southland GHS
Manukura will play in their first Top 4 girls final after winning a much more even semi-final than the first.
This semi-final was close throughout and Southland were in the fight for long periods. Southland’s forwards were at least the equal of Manukura’s, but the Hurricanes qualifier’s backs proved the difference.
In particular a star turn by Manukura fullback Carys Dallinger.
The New Zealand U18 Sevens squad member scored a hat-trick of tries – all three high quality strikes showing fantastic footwork, an eye for an opportunity and speed to beat the last defenders.
She also had a direct hand in two more, as Manukura led 19-12 at halftime and kept themselves in front throughout the second half.
Southland got back to 22-29 with over 10 minutes still to play, needing to score twice as a draw would have sent Manukura through because they scored the game’s first try.
Dallinger set up a decisive try immediately after halftime after a one-minute build-up, grubbering ahead and blindside flanker Jasmine O’Connell running through to score off. This put Manukura ahead 24-12.
Southland hit straight back after some strong lead-up work, their lock Libby Napier prominent in a workmanlike forwards try. Southland also lost their industrious No. 8 and 2016 Top 4 winner Emma Dermody to a bad head knock just prior to this try.
Dallinger’s second try followed next. Manukura nabbed a Southland lineout on halfway and went wide to the fullback up in the line. Seeing space, she kicked ahead, toed ahead again, regathered and scored in front of the VIP pavilion.
Southland came back again with a try set up through their hard working forwards, captain and openside flanker Bree Thomas and both locks Jaidene Marshall and Libby Napier prominent.
Manukura regained territory and the Dallinger show resumed from first phase possession off a scrum in Southland’s 22, making it 36-22.
Once more, Southland came back hard and this time blindside flanker Shakoia Tonihi scored for them, cutting the lead to seven points.
Manukura had the last say with Dallinger throwing a skipout pass to wing Plum King and she scored the try that sealed the win.
Earlier, Manukura had made a dream start when they attacked from a scrum on halfway and centre Paris Paul crossed the whitewash. NZ U18s first five-eighth Kalyn Takitimu-Cook kicked the conversion.
Southland regrouped and scored a clinical team try after a multiphase build-up close to the line to lock Napier. Manukura scored their second try through No. 8 off the back of a scrum Phoenix Huriwai, but Southland replied with another try through their forwards similar to their first to make it 12-12.
Dallinger showed her hand immediately before the break slicing through traffic to score her first try and putting Manukura up 19-12 at the break.
St Peter’s Cambridge to defend title against rugged Rangiora
The coed semi-finals were contrasting affairs with reigning champions St Peter’s Cambridge thrashing Mount Albert Grammar School 55-18 while Rangiora High School rallied from 12-3 down to stun perennial contenders Feilding High School 15-12.
St Peter’s led MAGS 27-18 with about 20 minutes remaining - pulling clear with the last four converted tries.
Feilding started brightly against Rangiora leading 7-3 at halftime - an advantage that could have been much greater.
Diminutive blonde wing Cody Osborne, or the ‘Targaryen,’ opened the scoring when he swerved around multiple defenders in a 70-metre breakout.
Feilding could have doubled their advantage from another long range breakout, but the final pass was forward.
Feilding scored first after halftime following a storming charge by their lock, but Rangiora’s forwards are a stubborn herd and relentless pressure resulted in a try which narrowed the gap to 12-8.
Rangiora No.8 Angus Fletcher has been a standout all season and when he dramatically charged 15-meters untouched, Rangiora had a shock led with about seven minutes left.
Feilding bombed two tries. Centre Josiah Maraku busted, but didn’t deliver a pass when he had men to spare on his outside and Rangiora fullback Del Rio MackIntosh denied Feilding a try with the last play after a heroic tackle which defined his size.
Below: fulltime in the St Peter's v Hamilton BHS boys semi-final. Report above.
Aorere College will be representing the Blues region in the girls tournament at this week’s Top 4 tournament. Aorere, along with Hurricanes school Manukura, will be attending the Top 4 for the first time in the girls section.
They play Chiefs qualifiers Hamilton Girls’ High School in Friday’s semi-finals.
2018 squad list:
Hulita Ahosivi, Glory Aiono, Jodeci Alaelua, Mary Anitoni, Patsy Chan, Danisha Falemoe, Folouleni Faleta, Sapphire Finau, Chrisma Ianusi, Patricha Ianusi, Filomena Leniu, Cathy Leuta, Lachlann Magele-Fatuamaka, Jireh Malo, Ana Mamea, Lana Napara, Chantelle Talisau, Numa Tangi. Tulu Tulu, Kasa Tupou, Maama Vaipulu, Melvina Weilert
Head Coach: Sam Aiono Assistant Coach: Pat Fa’apoi Manager: Nicole Addison
Top 4 history:
This is our first time at the Top 4 finals. The Aorere boys First XV has played there before in the Co-ed Cup, most recently in 2016.
2018 Representative players:
Glory Aiono and Ana Mamea are in the Counties Manukau Heat Women’s rugby squad this year. Both made their debuts last Saturday against Waikato and Mamea scored two tries starting at lock.
Auckland under 18’s rugby squad: Melvina Weilert, Kasa Tupou, Tulu Tulu, Ma’ama Vaipulu, Patsy Chan, Jodeci Alaelua, Cathy Leuta.
What is it going to take for your school to do well the Top 4 tournament?
Enjoying the occasion and representing their family and school with passion and pride.
What local competition has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
We played in the [seven-team] Auckland Heartland Bank Secondary school girls 1st XV competition and we were the winners of that competition.
We played six, won five, lost one [to Southern Cross in the round-robin]. Points for 234, points 61. In the semi-final we drew 22-22 with Onehunga High School – but progressed to the final because they scored the first try. We beat Southern Cross Campus 17-7 in the final.
How did you qualify for the Top 4 tournament?
The win Southern Cross doubled as the qualifier for this coming weekend.
What has been a season highlight so far?
We had never beaten Sothern Cross before, so to beat them in the final in front of our family and friends has been the pinnacle of our season to date.
Does your team have a motto or saying that it comes together under?
Bully the Bullies
Are there any players in your team successful in other sports?
Ma’ama Vaipulu: NZ under 16 volleyball
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
Family support has been the biggest for our team. Without their love and support we wouldn’t be in the position we are in now.
Your school’s alumni?
Current Black Ferns captain Fiao’o Famausili.
Faamausili has these words of support for her old school:
“Good skills this weekend girls.
To represent your school colours at a national tournament is a huge honour and a massive achievement. You girls are role models for the next girls coming through.
Treasure the experience and most importantly have fun!!
What ever the result, hold your heads up cause everyone especially your families are super proud!!
Go well and leave it all on the field.
BE THE CAR AND NOT THE TRAILER
NO WHAT IFS :)”
The 2014 and 2015 champions beat Southland Girls’ High School in their semi-final and then lost to first-time champions St Mary’s College last year. The side returns this year and plays Blues winners Aorere College on Friday.
A bit more about them below.
School: Hamilton Girls’ High School
2018 Squad list:
1. Chyann Kaitapu, 2. Hunter Randle, 3. Vici-Rose Green, 4. Veisinia Fakalelu, 5. Lataina Moeakiola, 6. Destiny Ieremia, 7. Nyesha Hamilton, 8. Mele ‘Ahokava, 9. Montessa Tairakena, 10 Kiriana Nolan, 11. Lela Ieremia, 12. Manaia Nuku, 13. Jazmin Hotham, 14. Shae Daley, 15. Dawn Hohua, 16. Anahera Campbell, 17. Alison Mills, 18. Whetu Nuku, 19. Reese Anderson, 20. Rayarn Tamati, 21. Milania Cairns, 22. ‘Ilaisaane ‘Ahokava, 23. Renee Cook, Lonita Ngalu (unable to attend the tournament)
Shane Sun (Head Coach), Craig Scrimgeour (Assistant Coach, TIC Rugby)
Played 13. Won 13. 858 point for and 35 points against.
Top try scorers: Dawn Hohua (back) = 23 tries; Shae Daley (back) = 17 tries; Jazmin Hotham (back) = 12 tries; Lele Ieremia (back) = 11 tries; Montessa Tairakena (back) = 11 tries; Mele ‘Ahokava (forward) = 11 tries; Whetu Nuku (forward) = 9 tries; Chyann Kaitapu (forward) = 8 tries; Vici-Rose Green (forward) = 7 tries
Top 4 record:
2018 Representative players:
Waikato NPC squad: - Nyesha Hamilton, Lonita Ngalu
NZ Under 18 Girls 7s- Montessa Tairakena, Jazmin Hotham
Waikato Under 18 Girls- Hunter-Lily Randle, Kiriana Nolan, Manaia Nuku, Montessa Tairakena, Whetu Nuku, Vici-Rose Green, Chyann Kaitapu, Destiny Iraia, Milania Cairns, Jazmin Hotham
What it is going to take to win this year’s tournament?
Heading into Top 4 we will be sure to treat Friday’s game like it’s the final. We must be switched on both physically and mentally in order to put on a peak performance. By trusting in our systems and recovery procedures that have been drilled all season it will help to get us through the tough two-day tournament. Many players have previously experienced this tournament so will be utilised to lead within the team as they are well aware of the challenges that we will face.
What local competitions has your school team played in this year and how did your team go?
We competed in the Vanessa Coutts Cup-Waikato secondary schools competition, which we won. Many of our senior players were a part of women's club rugby teams (Hamilton Old Boys and Melville). Both teams were in the Waikato women’s club final, as well as the Battle of the Kaimais.
How did you qualify for this year’s top 4 tournament you qualified for the Top 4 tournament?
Winning the Vanessa Cotts Cup secured us a position in the Chiefs Cup semi-final. We travelled up to Counties to take on Wesley College. This was a very physical game from both sides, and we won 58-10. In the Chiefs Cup Final/ Top 4 Qualifier we faced Rotorua Girls’ High School, winning 56-5.
What has been a season highlight so far?
With a lot of behind scenes work, we were fortunate enough to play our Chiefs Cup Final/ Top 4 Qualifier at the Waikato FMG stadium. This was a very special opportunity because for many of our team it was the first time playing in a stadium as well as it was the very last home game for our senior players. We had many HGHS students and teachers come and support along with many friends and family. It was an amazing feeling knowing that we were playing on the same field that the All Blacks/ Black Ferns have stepped foot on.
Does your team have a motto or a philosophy that it comes together under?
“No matter if we are ahead or behind we always have our sister’s backs”
We have the philosophy of understanding the importance of the players that have worn the jersey before us and then wanting to create our own legacy within the jersey. Through learning about the values of our school crest, we are continuously connected to our school whenever we wear our rugby uniform. Off the field we all like to pretend we are Beyonce, singing and dancing together, however “boots on, means switch on,” as we prepare to go to war with our sisters.
Are there individuals in your team successful in other sports?
New Zealand Touch - Kiriana Nolan
New Zealand U18 7s - Montessa Tairakena and Jazmin Hotham
NZ League - Whetu Nuku
What other support has your team received to get to allow it to operate at the level it does?
A huge THANK YOU to our management team that have continuously put so much time and effort in to make our team run as it does. The Waikato Rugby Union and Waikato regional coaches (shout out to Wayne Maxwell) have provided heaps of help coming to trainings and organising amazing opportunities such as playing on the stadium.
Lastly, thank you to all of our parents/ HGHS whanau that have supported us near and far and pushed us to always want to be the very best we can. We most definitely would not be the team we are without the constant support of all these people!!
Who are some of HGHS’s past players, now playing to a higher level?
Black Ferns 7s - Tenika Willison, Terina Te Tamaki, Shiray Kaka
Black Ferns 15s - Ariana Bayler
Farah Palmer Cup - Stacey Littleworth, Lena Mitchell, Kennedy Simon, Nyesha Hamilton, Ariana Bayler, Lonita Ngalu, Kanyon Paul, Danielle Paenga, Makaia Te Kanawa, Awa Whitiora, Calista Wihone
St Peter's College beat Napier Boys' High School 31-28 in last year's final.
The NZ Barbarians National 1st XV Championships are being held at the Sport and Rugby Institute in Palmerston North this coming Friday and Sunday.
The ‘Top Four’ tournament has been staged every year since 1982. See below for a compilation of results and scoring from each of the finals 1982-2018.
We count 11 All Blacks (plus some other players that played international rugby for other countries) as try/point scorers – listed in the Summary at the bottom. (We stand corrected if we’ve missed any out!)
This year’s semi-finalists are Hamilton Boys’ High School, Napier Boys’ High School, St Peter's College and Christchurch Boys' High School. How has your school fared in the past?
2018: St Peter’s College: 31 (Apetone Vaka, Niko Jones, PJ Tonga, Zyon Holo, Chris Halaufia tries; AJ Faleafaga 3 con) Napier Boys’ High School: 28 (Jayden Stok, Patrick Teddy, Henry Williams, Tyrone Thompson tries; Kegan Christian-Goss 4 con)
2017: Hastings Boys’ High School: 25 (Kini Naholo, Shamara Brooks, Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe tries; Danny Toala 2 pen, 2 con) Hamilton Boys’ High School: 17 (Josh Calvert try; Coby Miln 3 pen, Fletcher Morgan pen)
2016: Mount Albert Grammar High School: 14 (Isaiah Papali'i try; Oliver Shepherd 3 pen) Hastings Boys' High School: 13 (Jeriah Mau try; Danny Toala 2 pen, 1 con)
2015: Rotorua Boys’ High School: 36 (Te Ra Whata, James Tofa 2, Issac Te Aute 2, Kaydis Hona tries; Kaleb Trask 3 con, pen) beat Scots College: 27 (Jack Gray, Alex Fidow 2 Peter Umaga-Jensen tries; Malo Manuao pen, 2 con). HT: 19-7
2014: Hamilton Boys’ High School: 26 (Solomone Tukuafu 2, Elijah Ale, Jahrome Brown tries; Matthew Lansdown 3 con) Scots College: 26 (Connor Garden-Bachop 2, Malo Tuitama, Peter Umaga-Jensen; TJ Va’a 3 con)
2013: Hamilton Boys’ High School: 12 (Bryn Gatland 3 pen, 1 dg) St Kentigern College: 10 (TJ Faiane try; William Raea 1 con, 1 pen)
2012: St Kentigern College: 31 (Dillon Wihongi 2, Broc Hooper, TJ Faiane, Sam Nock tries; Hooper 3 con) Otago Boys’ High School: 5 (Aleki Morris try)
2011: Kelston Boys’ High School: 24 (Lolagi Visinia, David Fusitu’a, Rameka Ultimei-Paraki tries; Tayler Adams 3 con, 1 pen) Wesley College: 14 (Blessing Muilitalo-Malu, Brian Alainu’uese tries; Bradford Leamalufaitoga 2 con)
2010: Mount Albert Grammar School: 20 (Milford Keresoma 2, Michael Faleafa, Damon Niko tries) Hamilton Boys’ High School: 17 (Adam Burn, Jesse Dodunski tries; Josh Smith 2 con, 1 pen)
2009: Hamilton Boys’ High School: 17 (Henare Hira-Herangi, Chauncy Edwardson tries; Nathan George 2 con, 1 pen) St Bede’s College: 0
2008: Hamilton Boys’ High School: 6 (Kane Adams 2 pen) De La Salle College: 6 (Kelekolio Hifo 2 pen)
2007: Gisborne Boys’ High School: 35 (Clayton Kiwara, Lennon Puke-Carrington, Whaimotu Craft-Chemis, Charlie Ngatai tries; Ngatai 3 pen, 3 con) Mount Albert Grammar School: 24 (Aaron Collins 2, Manu Ene, Ben Richards; Rocky Khan 2 con)
2006: Christchurch Boys’ High School: 18 (Colin Beumelburg, Brendon McFarlane, Ryan McLeod tries; Tyler Bleyendaal 1 pen) Auckland Grammar School: 14 (Dan Pryor, Jack Turley tries; Ash Moeke 2 con)
2005: Christchurch Boys’ High School: 23 (Tim Bateman, Tim Jones tries; Colin Slade 3 pen, 2 con) King’s College: 10 (Andrew Burton try; Dean Cummins 1 pen, 1 con)
2004: Christchurch Boys’ High School: 22 (Nick Thompson try; Colin Slade 4 pen, 1 con, 1 dg) Wesley College: 22 (Sekope Kepu 2, Charlie Luteru tries; Tipuna Ropotini, 2 con, 1 dg)
2003: Rotorua Boys’ High School: 31 (Te’u Nafe ,Sam Cameron, Eroni Seibouma tries; Tom Woods 3 pen, 2 con, Willie Ripia 1 dg) Napier Boys’ High School: 11 (Matt Hill try; Lee Stewart 2 pen)
2002: Napier Boys’ High School: 6 (Ricky Bludson 2 pen) Rotorua Boys’ High School: 6 (William Ripa 2 pen)
2001: Wesley College: 53 (Sailosi Tagicakibau 2, Tekori Luteru 2, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Viliami Veikoso, Michael Spence, Stephen Donald tries; Donald: 5 con, 1 pen) Rotorua Boys’ High School: 32 (Ruki Tipuna, Sam Cameron, Raureti Grace, Penalty Try; Tipuna: 3 con, 2 pen)
2000: St Peter’s College: 20 (Edwin Asotasi, Chris Merrick tries; Merrick 2 con, 2 pen) Wellington College: 12 (Brett Moresi 4 pen)
1999: Kelston Boys’ High School: 21 (Ray Isara 2, Sam Tu’itupou tries; Isara 2 pen) Christchurch Boys’ High School: 18 (Shaun Weeb, Dayle Eathorne tries; Eathorne 2 pen, 1 con)
1998: Otago Boys’ High School: 5 (Richie McCaw try) Rotorua Boys’ High School: 5 (Craig Newby try)
1997: Wesley College: 41 (Sione Kepu 2, Salesi Moimoi 2, Hale Tu’uhoko Pole, Leon Tautasi tries; Alefosio Pule’anga 4 con, 1 pen) Palmerston North Boys’ High School: 3 (Blair Campbell 1 pen)
1996: Kelston Boys’ High School: 29 (Richard Rasmussen 2, Colin Jones, Iaua Segia, Sope Spoe tires; Halo Tavana 2 con) Palmerston North Boys’ High School: 11 (Michel Pettman, Fraser Hodgson 1 pen, 1 con)
1995: Kelston Boys’ High School: 19 (Shane Connelly, Tavita Fesolai, Siaosi Vaili tries; Loki Crichton 2 con) Wellington College: 10 (Mark Velvin try; David Murdoch 1 con, 1 pen)
1994: Gisborne Boys’ High School: 14 (Derek Paenga try; Eric Henare 3 pen) St Stephen’s School: 3 (Dwaynne Russell 1 pen)
1993: Wesley College: 13 (Mateaki Telefoni; Josh Kafu 2 pen, 1 con) St Paul’s Collegiate: 7 (Sione Taupeaafe try; Derek Maisey 1 con)
1992: Auckland Grammar School: 17 (Casino Doyle, 3 tries; Cameron Rackham 1 con) Napier Boys’ High School: 3 (Barry Boyden 1 pen)
1991: St Stephen’s School: 21 (Reuben Parkinson, Tene Ngaheu, Alex Chan, Tanirua Manawaiti tries; Jarrod Faul 1 con, 1 dg) Gisborne Boys’ High School: 6 (Penalty try; Leyton Tahuri 1 con)
1990: Wesley College: 21 (Niki Tuwhangi 2, Jonah Lomu tries; Kiley Kanohi 3 con, 1 pen) Gisborne Boys’ High School: 6 (Dwayne Barrie try; Richard Francis 1 con)
1989: Kelston Boys’ High School: 22 (Johnny Moore, Brydon Te Pania tries; Darren Lucas 2 pen, 1 con, Richard Meehan 2 dg) Wesley College: 19 (Waisake Sotutu, Rhys Duggan, penalty try; Kiley Kanohi 2 con, 1 pen)
1988: Gisborne Boys’ High School: 24 (Mark Hooper, Scott Baistow, Damien Riki, Garth Grace, George Albert tries; Darrin Sutton 2 con) Napier Boys’ High School: 15 (Jason McDowell 1 try, 1 con, 3 pen)
1987: St Peter’s College: 25 (Lincoln Barrett, Pat Lam, John Akurangi, Parrish McLeod tries; Mark Webber 3 con, 1 pen) Southland Boys’ High School: 7 (Simon Forrest try; 1 pen
1986: Auckland Grammar School: 15 (Todd Bolton try, Mark George 3 pen, 1 con) St Stephen’s School: 6 (Paul McPherson 2 pen)
1985: St Stephen’s School: 26 (Raymond Barchard 2, Todd Bell, Wiremu Manusell, Adam Ruwhiu tries; Paul McPherson 3 con) Napier Boys’ High School: 3 (Simon Kerr, 1 pen)
1984: Te Aute College: 7 (Terence Hokianga try; Hallam Kupa 1dg) St Stephen’s School: 4 (Stafford Heremia try)
1983: Auckland Grammar School: 20 (Philip Jay, Stephen Crombie, Ant Strachan tries; Peter Wood 2 con) St Bede’s College: 10 (Peter Davidson try; Anthony Ziolo 2 pen)
1982: Mount Albert Grammar School: 11 (Tony Lilliotama, Se’e Solomona tries; Glen Warren 1 pen) Waitaki Boys’ High School: 4 (Brian Cowie try)
Twelve of the country’s leading rugby schools will descend on Palmerston North at the end of this week for the NZ Barbarians National 1st XV Championships (Top 4).
Southland Girls’ High School will take the field for the girls tournament for the seventh straight year - the only school to appear in all seven. So far, they have made the final three times and they won the title in 2016.
Southland’s captain is year 13 loose forward Bree Thomas, who will be attending her fifth straight Top 4 tournament.
“I went up to the Top 4 in year 9 as a reserve and have played in the four tournaments we have attended since,” says Bree, whose older brother Flynn is the New Zealand U20s and Southland Stags hooker and a past Top 4 player for Southland Boys’ High School.
“I think there will be two or three of us in the team that have been to the top 4 each year since year 10 in 2015, and several of us who were in the team that won in 2016.
“But this year it is quite a new team and we have quite a few players that haven’t been to the top 4 before, so it will be a good experience for our side.”
Southland also had an U15 team at the 2017 Condor Sevens, so a few of those players have come through to the 15s team. Southland GHS are also regular contenders at the senior Condors in Auckland in December.
Plus players from other codes. Southland GHS has traditionally been strong at Touch. “We have got a few Touch players in the team. There are a few netballers as well – we are able to work around girls jumping on planes. They might get to the Top 4 a bit later but it should all work in.”
In 2016, Southland GHS beat Wellington’s St Mary’s College 46-29 to win their maiden national title, after racing to a 22-0 lead in as many minutes. Centre Alena Saili scored a hat-trick in that final. Saili recently debuted for the Black Ferns against Australia. Current players and now year 13s, lock Libby Napier and No. 8 Emma Dermody, were also standouts that day.
Last year, Southland GHS faced 2014 and 2015 winners Hamilton Girls’ High School in their semi-final on Friday. It was close early, but Hamilton blew the game open just before halftime and went on to win 51-12.
“We went into that game with a positive mindset, but they were a pretty slick side and on defence they were hard to crack,” says Bree.
What has Southland learnt from last year?
“I think this year we have gone back to basics. We are probably not the biggest side there, we have to be better at the things that require a lot of skill and effort.”
Southland GHS recently took out the local six-team secondary schoolgirls Southland competition.
“It’s definitely not the level of competition that you see at the Top 4, which is a jump up in the skill level and intensity, but is valuable for us and for the growth of the game in general. We value the challenging games that we do get, and see how we react to tough situations and what we need to work on.”
There is a women’s 10s club rugby competition as well, which a couple of Southland GHS players were involved in.
Following the local season, Southland beat Otago Girls’ High School 53-36 in the Highlanders final and then defeated Canterbury UC Cup winners Christchurch Girls’ High School 39-0 in the South Island final and Top 4 qualifier.
Southland had to show character in both these wins. Against Otago GHS, they skipped out to an early 17-0 lead and then Otago came roaring back to lead by two points at halftime, before Southland pulled ahead again. The run of play was closer than the final scoreline suggests against Christchurch GHS.
Another key to the ongoing success of the Southland GHS team is the support of parents, who help with travel and logistics as well as sideline support and encouragement.
Southland Girls’ High School Top 4 squad:
Charlotte Anderson, Simone Caughey, Brooke Churstain, Tayla Churstain Kate Cochrane, Emma Dermody, Lanney Dickson, Georgia Ellis, Devon Grey, Lucy Hall, Dayna Hughes, Kristi Kerr, Jessica Lucy, Jaidene Marshall, Libby Napier (VC), Jamie Owen-Gear, Joey Sheppard, Aaliyah Talamahina, Kylah Talamahina, Bree Thomas (C), Shakoia Tonihi, Ryah Tui, Hannah Smith, Kayla Strong, Shianna Templeton (injured).
Management staff: Maima Afutu, Nathan Muir, Tracy Thomas, Mckenzie Smith
The Top 4 trophy
The girls play for the Rugby Girl Hine Pounamu Trophy, which Manukura won off St Mary’s College when they beat them in the recent Hurricanes final. It is re-set at the Top 4 tournament so the winner gets to keep it until their next challenge in 2019.
Hine Pounamu Trophy winners:
2012: Feilding High School
2013: Feilding High School
2014: Hamilton Girls’ High School
2015: Hamilton Girls’ High School
2016: Southland Girls’ High School
2017: St Mary’s College
Watch highlight’s of Southland GHS’s Top 4 win over St Mary’s College in 2016:
The team that has to travel the shortest distance to the Sport and Rugby Institute on Friday and Sunday will also be making their first appearance there. Local school Manukura will be representing the Hurricanes region in the girls competition at the Top 4 tournament.
Squad list: 1. Hinewai Netana-Williams, 2, Season Blackburn-Kingi, 3. Jannali Ruawai, 4. Madison Hodgon, 5. Mia Waiariki, 6. Jasmine O’Connell, 7. Izzy Rewiri-Wharerau, 8. Phoenix Huriwai, 9. Lucy Brown, 10. Kalyn Takitimu-Cook, 11. Deli Taylor, 12. Kaia-Hayes Walker-Waitoa, 13. Paris Paul, 14. Plum King, 15, Carys Dallinger, 16, Kataraina Kelly, 17. Ariana Taylor, 18. Ngakura Ponga, 19. Leiana Marshall-Barton, 20. Selena Williams-Paap. ALSO Nicola Chase – playing in the LNISS MANUKURA netball team this week; Jannali Ruawai - Attending Basketball regional tournament at the start of this week and returning return to rugby.
Coaching staff: Kristina Sue, Rhiarna Ferris, Potene Paewai, Fiona Chase (manager)
Captains: Lucy Brown (c) , Mia Waiariki (vc)
Top 4 record: First time qualifying for Top 4. Only established a girls rugby team in 2014. Qualified for the Condor sevens in 2017 and 2018.
2018 Representative players: Lucy Brown (Manawatu Cyclones), Kalyn Takitimu-Cook – (Manawatu Cyclones and NZU18 7s), Carys Dalinger (Manawatu Cyclones and NZU18 7s), Nicola Chase (Manawatu Cyclones), Season Blackburn-Kingi (Taranaki U18s)
What is it going to take for your school to do well in the Top 4 tournament?
We have a good mixture of experienced and new players in the squad. We have a core group of players who have played women’s club rugby this year and tasted victory for Feilding Old Boys Oroua v Kia Toa in the final, and have had experience at a higher level. Preparation is key, with clarity on roles, responsibilities and a growth mindset in the players as individuals and as a collective to believe they can compete, perform and never give up. Management also need to a game plan that is going to manage workloads including recovery, preview and review opposition but mainly focus on what we do well.
What local competitions has your school team played in this year?
We won the local MSS competition.
How did you qualify for the Top 4 tournament?
We qualified from our match against St Mary’s College (Wellington) at Awatapu College on Saturday 25th August. It was a match that could have gone either way and we were fortunate to take the victory [38-33].
What has been a season highlight so far?
Manukura has won the Rex Kerr Cup in becoming Hurricanes Girls champions for 2018. Following a narrow 17-14 Semi-Final victory over Feilding High School, Manukura were able to withstand the pressure created by the defending Hurricanes [and national champions] champions, St. Mary's College, to come out eventual winners.
Does your team have a motto or saying or philosophy that it comes together under?
“Protect the line like it’s your family”
“No one outworks us”
“Play like your lover’s watching”
Our special person is eight-year-old Poppy Mulligan who loves rugby and is the teams ball girl. The Manukura girls inspire her to play rugby. Ultimately, our philosophy is about rugby being more than a game. If we perform and get results that is a bonus. it’s also about the girls developing a sisterhood, bond, rugby skills/knowledge and life skills that they can use in the future beyond rugby. And also about exposing them to many memorable experiences and opportunities.
Are there individuals in your team successful in other sports?
Selena Williams-Paap - New Zealand touch representative.
Jannali Ruawai - Manawatu basketball
Kalyn and Carys - New Zealand U18 7s players
Nicola Chase - U19 Netball, Manawatu Athletics shot put champion.
Tell us about your team’s support?
We have received support from MANUKURA staff/coaches, physios, Manawatu Cyclones rugby team, FOBOS rugby team and most of all parents of players in the team and the support within our team has pushed us to operate as well as we do together as family.
Watch a good luck video prepared for Manukura's players before their Hurricanes final against St Mary's:
Otago Boys’ High School are a win away from their first appearance in the National Top Four First XV championship since 2015.
This Saturday, Otago heads north to tackle Christchurch Boys’ High School in the South Island regional final.
In 2014, Otago withdrew from the Otago schools grade to join the Premier Colts competition. Tougher opposition was the theory behind this decision, but after three seasons in the Colts, Otago re-joined their school contemporaries.
Otago’s captain in 2018 is openside flanker Jesse Vaafusuaga. He played in both grades and insists Otago have benefited from a return to college.
“It’s been a big change. In the colts grade the players are much bigger so we tended to spend a lot of time defending and exiting our 22. In the schools grade there are some big boys too, but we get more of the ball which encourages us to play a lot more which has helped us grow as a team,” Vaafusuaga (a Highlanders U18 camp selection) said.
Otago won the school Premiership, pipping John McGlashan College 24-17 in the final. Fullback James Arscott scored a try with the last play. Vaafusuaga captures the drama.
“With a minute to go we won a penalty on halfway and our first-five kicked it to the five-meter mark. We won the lineout and James dummied and got over. It was a real nail bitter and proof there are tough games in the schools grade.”
Southland Boys’ High School contest the Premier Colts grade and hadn’t lost to Otago in two years heading into the Highlanders Regional final on Saturday. They were held to a 14-14 draw (7-7 at halftime) when they met earlier this season.
How did Otago finally break the Southland drought?
“We knew Southland would bring it up front. There a big running team who like to go around the corner a lot. We knew if we could shut them down defensively, they would get frustrated. It was 5-0 at halftime and things opened up in the second-half.”
Otago won 26-7, with winger Michael Manson scoring two tries and first-five Tevita Asi crossing the chalk and playing with considerable authority.
Otago will have to bring authority to their defence this Saturday against Christchurch Boys’ High School. Vaafusuaga identified missed tackles as the biggest reason for Otago’s 26-23 loss in July.
“We scored a couple of tries in the first-half and were pretty confident at the break. Unfortunately that confidence was misplaced and we switched off mentally.
“We conceded three tries in 20 minutes and you can’t do that against a good side.,” Vaafusuaga rues.
If Otago reaches the top four they will face the best the North Island has to offer. Southland in their last two appearances lost Top 4 semi-finals by record scores. Is Vaafusuaga concerned Otago will struggle to compete?
“Not at all. There’s no question it’ll be tough, but you’ve got to back yourself and often the biggest upsets tend to happen in finals,” Vaafusuaga concluded.
Top 4 regional finals this weekend:
For more Otago secondary school rugby and secondary school sport photos visit Caswell Images HERE
The UC Championship final is the showpiece event in Crusaders First XV rugby. Here is the history of the final.
2001: Christchurch BHS: 29 v Christ’s College: 3
The first final was played at Jade Stadium. Christchurch led by 12-3 at halftime and completely dominated the match to win by 29-3. Tries were scored by George Naoupu (2), Kele Leatua, Andrew Olorenshaw and Tonga Mounga. The Christchurch Boys’ High School Magazine reported: “Seldom do things come together in a team sport like rugby as it did during this final.” Naoupu and Olorenshaw went onto play for Canterbury. Goal-kicker, Neil Broom, who added three conversions and a penalty, played cricket for New Zealand. Christchurch beat Christ’s three times in 2001.
2002 Christchurch BHS: 28 v Nelson College: 15
Played August 17th at Rugby Park. A dominant first half saw Christchurch lead 23-5 at halftime, scoring 16 points in the first 13 minutes. Nelson rallied in the second-half with two tries, but poor goal-kicking and errors ensured that Nelson was always chasing a superior Boys’ High outfit. Matt Holloway and Michael Saunders scored two tries each with Steven Brett (A Future NZ Maori Representative) kicking two penalties and a conversion. Sam Giddens(2) and Jayden Thompson scored Nelson’s tries. Andrew Olorenshaw was named Man of the Match for Christchurch who beat Nelson three times in 2002.
2003: Christchurch BHS 24 v Shirley BHS – 23
August 16, 2003 is a day that spectators at Rugby Park will never forget, a classic final! The first half was a low scoring affair with a Steven Brett converted try separating the two schools.The second-half was a thriller. Mitchell Alcock scored a try to extend Christchurch’s advantage to 12-3, before Shirley powered ahead 16-12.A memorable try by rampaging Number 8 Setaimata Sa and a drop goal by Cory Simpson were among the highlights of the Shirley rally. Christchurch was a champion team though and tires to Kieran Black and fifth former Tim Bateman put Christchurch back in front 24-16. Robbie Flynn scored a converted try on fulltime for Shirley. Kris McNicholl scored ten points for Shirley, gallant losers by a point.
2004: Christchurch BHS: 43 v Nelson College: 16
Christchurch, on the receiving end of a heavy penalty count, struggled in the early stages of the first-half. It took a series of powerful runs by Kieran Black and Mason Pomare to get the scoreboard moving, Christchurch led 19-11 at the break. In the second half, Christchurch was rampant and cruised to their 4th Press Cup title in a row, finishing with seven tries overall. Hoani Matenga (2), Reuben Fitzgerald (2), Kieran Black, Tim Bateman and Chris Small scored tries for the winners. Christchurch was unbeaten in 19 games and shared the National Top Four tittle with Wesley College in 2004.
2005: Christchurch BHS: 51 v Nelson College: 17
The 2005 final was played at Jade Stadium on August 20. Nelson started strongly but was denied by the Christchurch defence. Future All Black Colin Slade opened the scoring with a penalty and that seemed to settle Christchurch, who scored 32 points in a dazzling first-half to decide the contest; Christchurch winning by a record score. The winner’s tries were scored by Tim Jones (2), Matt Todd, Michael Coom, Ryan McLeod, Andrew Horrell and Colin Slade, who added four conversions and two penalties. Mason Pomare was invited to kick a conversion, and it brought up the half century. Nelson’s two tries were scored by James Marshall and Tyler McKinnion-Stevenson. Christchurch went 24-0 in 2005, successfully defending their National Top Four title.
2006: Christchurch BHS: 28 v Marlborough Boys’ College: 10
Christchurch travelled to Blenheim to tackle Marlborough Boys’ College who had upset the National Champions, 16-12 in the round-robin. A car buzzing around the Christchurch hotel playing loud music at 3am in the morning was not ideal preparation for the match. Christchurch started strongly however and led 18-3 at the interval. Strong defence Marlborough’s opportunities to score and a powerful wind helped Christchurch gain an advantage in the battle for territory. In the second half, Marlborough fought back and scored the first try. However, the result was settled midway through the second half when Matt Latham scored a 60-meter stunner which saw the ball being handled by most of the backs. Other Christchurch tries on the day went to Brendon MacFarlane (2), Marshall Suckling and Mark Jackman. Tyler Bleyendaal had a rare off day, contributing just a single penalty.Later Christchurch won their third National title in a row, going 22-1 for the season!
2007: Nelson College: 31 v St Bede’s College: 26
Played in Nelson, in front of an estimated crowd of 3000 spectators, Nelson surged to a 21-5 lead after just 15 minutes; Ricky Kennett, Sam Westerna and Mitchell Thwaties scored tries, all converted by James Lash. St Bede’s surged back to tie the game, 21-21 with 22 minutes left. St Bede’s tries were scored by Jason Morgan, Hamish Catherwood and Alex Ryan. Lash kicked a penalty to edge Nelson ahead before replacement winger Kim Bateman went over for the try that sealed Nelson victory. Nelson won 19 of 22 games in 2007, making the National Top Four for the only time in the school’s history.
2008: St Bede’s College: 34 v Marlborough BC: 14
Played at Rugby Park in Christchurch, Marlborough started strongly and led 9-0 via three Tyrone Elkington penalties. However St Bede’s with tries from James Schrader (2), Hamish Catherwood, Josh Navidi and Hiro Ono won easily in the end, despite holding just a one point halftime advantage. St Bede’s won their first Press Cup undefeated and won a record 28 games during the 2008 season, reaching the National Top Four for the first time since 1984.
2009: St Bede’s College: 32 v Nelson College: 6
The final was played at Rugby Park in Christchurch. St Bede’s won a comprehensive victory by 32-6 scoring five unanswered tries. Tyson Kamo collected two, Michael Stewart and Logan Taylor scored one each with Taylor adding three conversions and two penalties. St Bede’s won 18 games in a row on course to the National Top Four Final which they lost to Hamilton Boys’ High School, 0-17.
2010: St Bede’s College: 27 v Christchurch Boys’ High School: 12
The game burst into life during the second-half. An error ridden first spell saw St Bede’s, enjoy a narrow 3-0 advantage at the break. In the last 35 minutes five tries were scored as both sides played some expansive rugby. St Bede’s, who scored a record 826 points during the season, scored three times as they won a third Press Cup in a row. Tyron Davies and Zac Lilley scored tries while Zac Southen was a colossal figure, contributing a try, three conversions and two penalties. For Christchurch, Joe Taylor scored two tries and Martin Swart kicked a conversion.
2011: St Bede’s College: 30 v Nelson College: 12
St Bede’s College bullied their way to a fourth title by beating Nelson College 30-12. The larger St Bede’s forwards recycled the ball quickly, allowing their dangerous backs quick, go-forward ball. Jesse Bryant (2), Moses Faletolu and Misimoa Lamositele scored tries with Hagen Schulte kicking two conversions and two penalties. For Nelson College, openside Steve Soper was impressive and bullocking prop Connor McKinnin-Stevenson’s runs were well worth watching. Soper and Latham Jones scored tries for Nelson. St Bede’s went onto to make the National Top Four for a fourth time. They finished third equal.
2012 Christchurch BHS: 27 v St Bede’s College: 8
Christchurch Boys’ High School became Press Cup champions for the first time since 2006 Boys’ High dominated early territory and possession. They were on the board early via a Fletcher Smith penalty. St Bede’s eventually managed to build some phases and after Boys’ High infringed at a ruck, right under their posts, St Bede’s first five Tim Cossens had the scores level after ten minutes. Second five Anton Lienert-Brown was impressive, regularly breaking the first tackler. To St Bede’s credit their defence held strong until late in the first half.
From a rolling maul Boys’ High worked their way towards the try line which led to hard working lock Angus Cameron falling over the line to have his side heading into the break with a 10-3 advantage.St Bede’s came out firing early in the second half with Captain Misi Lamositele getting his side on the front foot with a great run up the middle of the field. A few phases later Number 8 Sione Lavemai worked his way over and at 10-8 it was now game on.
However reckless kicking and consistent mistakes from St Bede’s gave Boys’ High possession and they made the most of it when it was on offer. Fletcher Smith showed great speed from a scrum to score his side’s second try to make it 17-8, before a penalty extended the lead to 20-8.
Lienert-Brown showed his class near fulltime again when he broke a series of weak tackles to runaway 70 meters and score a stunning try, 27-8 the final score. St Bede’s only lost to Boys’ High in 2012. Christchurch went onto to lose the mainland final to Otago Boys’ High School.
2013: Marlborough BC: 15 v Nelson College: 11
The Press Cup came to Marlborough. After being beaten in the 2006 and 2008 finals, the Marlborough Boys’ College first XV made no mistake at Lansdowne Park in Blenheim downing Nelson College 15-11 in an enthralling final.
This battle wasn’t for the fainthearted. MBC, facing a howling southerly and driving rain in the first spell, kept the ball in hand, driving forward through their “big boppers” skipper Atu Moli, fellow prop Bevan Moody and number eight Sokepe Lopeti. When the ball was turned over Nelson, mainly through skipper Mitchell Hunt and halfback Reece Fuller, kicked long and tried to force a mistake.
After 12 minutes their tactics paid dividends when second five eighth Finn Hart-Strawbridge landed a penalty from a handy position.
But the home side responded immediately, setting up a series of pick and goes close to the Nelson line. Initially repelled, their patience was rewarded on the 26 minute mark when MBC first five TC Campbell sold a dummy and sprinted 20m on the angle for the first try which Mitchell Smith converted to the delight of a very vocal crowd of around 2000. Nelson replied with a second penalty to Hart-Strawbridge from the restart and the sides went the break with MBC ahead 7-6.
A Smith penalty from 27m in front after five minutes stretched MBC’s lead to four before Moli, my man of the match, capped a period of concerted pressure on the Nelson line with an unstoppable drive from two metres. The conversion was missed but MBC led 15-6 and had one hand on the trophy.
But Nelson were not done for. Through hard working front rowers Miro Mitchell and Brendan Asamua-Goodman they took the fight to the home side, mounting wave after wave of attack. Urged on by the crowd, MBC defended superbly, twice forcing knock-ons on the line. But eventually the pressure told when Fuller scored with 1 minute 50 seconds remaining. Nelson’s conversion was charged down, but the margin was back to four and the game was back on.
MBC made an error from the kickoff, a scrum on halfway offering Nelson a last roll of the dice. They attacked strongly, but a turnover saw their hopes shattered, MBC halfback Curtis Petersen-Line gleefully booting into the terraces. Perhaps fittingly, given the upheaval in the Press Cup pecking order, a earthquake aftershock rolled through the park as referee Dave Woodhouse signalled full time.
2014: Christchurch BHS: 27 v Nelson College: 13
Christchurch won all 16 games and scored 106 tries on their way to yet another title. Christchurch burst to a 19-3 lead, blindside Jacob Vincent was responsible for two tries. Nelson rallied and reduced the deficit to six. The outstanding Turoa Stephens was rewarded for his efforts with a try. Christchurch sealed the game when captain Sean Forster crashed over from a powerful rolling maul. Second-five Alex Nankivell was named Man of the Match. Christchurch won 18 out of 21 games during the season and attended the National Top Four for the sixth time.
2015: St. Bede’s College: 32 v Shirley BHS: 13
In a mostly tight tussle, there was no fairytale finish for Shirley Boys’ who were seeking their first ever Crusaders region 1st XV championship. Instead it was a polished St Bede’s, once again laying claim as the best school-boy rugby team in the Crusaders region.
In the first half both sides were finding their feet in front of a packed out Rugby Park, and along with some equally inconsistent goal kicking neither side could stretch any sort of lead. Going into the second half with a narrow 10-8 advantage, St Bede’s seemed to have their tails up.
But it was not until first five eighths Tiare Day-Jones stabbed through a perfectly weighted grubber kick for impressive fullback Zach McKay to latch onto and run under the posts that the game started to blow open. Shirley Boys’ didn’t take long to hit back though with standout prop Brody McAlister snaring his second for the match with a determined pick and go. With St Bede’s up 17-13, they went on a winning run with 15 unanswered points including McKay grabbing his second try.
2016: Christchurch BHS: 21 v Shirley BHS: 20
Shirley Boys’ High School returned to the final, but failed to break their title drought at a packed and sun drenched Rugby Park. Each side scored three tries, but goal kicking accuracy was the telling difference with Shirley missing a handy penalty shot with less than five minutes left.
Shirley second-five Logan Bell, celebrating his 50th match for the First XV, and Christchurch wing Atu Manu crossed the chalk twice for Christchurch BHS.
2017: Christchurch BHS: 18 v Timaru BHS: 10
Midway through the first half, Christchurch’s Tahu Kaa-Goodwillie scored after a chip from Rico Syme bounced awkwardly for fullback Hayden McNulty and the second five was on hand to collect the bonus, with Syme converting.
TBHS then closed the gap to 7-3 with a McNulty penalty.
With five minutes left in the first-half Syme put in another clever kick and it again bounced away from the defender and wing Jack Harris snapped it up to make it 12-3 at the break.
Syme extended the lead early in the second-half with a penalty that bounced off the upright but then missed another opportunity to extend the lead.
TBHS burst back into the game when open side Melvin Pauni drove over from a lineout and McNulty added the conversion to close the gap to 15-10.
A minute earlier CBHS replacement prop Murphy Kupe had been yellow carded when he deliberately interfered with the ball as a quick tap was being taken.
With 10 minutes left, the left footed Syme gave his side some breathing space when he landed a penalty to get the advantage out to eight points.
It was a tough final with the Timaru forwards really taking it to Boys’ High, but the defending champions proving their resolve.
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