Christchurch Boys’ High School have defied the conditions to thrash Christ's College 31-13 in the 145th annual traditional fixture at Straven Road this afternoon.
In front of a packed and rowdy home crowd, Christchurch would have been anxious at halftime turning against the stiff breeze with a slender 10-6 lead.
However a try to hooker Clayden Paranihi, from a quick tap in the 50th minute, stretched the hosts lead to a telling 22-13 as Christ’s wilted against an opposition boasting a more hungry pack and potent backline.
Christ’s enjoyed two thirds of possession and territory in the first-half, but fell behind 10-0 after 18 minutes.
In the 12th minute Christchurch first-five Ollie Lewis opened the scoring with a 45-metre angled penalty before No.8 Cam Henderson latched onto the back of an unstoppable lineout drive to claim the first try.
Christ’s were patient with the ball, but lacked the punch of the hosts. The visitors were able to punish ill-discipline though with Shun Miyake slotting two penalties before the interval. His second effort was a tough success from 35-metres out. Miyake scored 258 points last season.
Christchurch anchored themselves in the Christ’s 22 to begin the second-half and 11 phases of attrition and precision saw lock Jammie Hannah rewarded.
Down 17-6, Christ’s salvaged the kickoff and a long riposte concluded with openside Mitchell Cox entering the scorebook. Miyake’s conversion sliced the deficit to 17-13.
Much of Christ's play was hampered by panic and inaccuracy. By contrast the Christchurch backs became gradually more elusive. Second-five Keegan McGregor was especially threatening and tighthead Ben Lopas was a destructive battering ram.
The quick thinking Paranihi propelled Christchurch to a 24-13 lead at which point Christ’s resistance considerably weakened. Christchurch centre Callum Simpson applied the exclamation mark with five minutes to spare regaining his own chip and chase.
In addition to McGregor and Lopas, Lewis was faultless of the tee and grew in stature. Paranihi produced a strong shift and lock Fabian Holland was a workhorse.
Christ’s best were captain and lock Zach Gallagher. loosehead Liam Pratt and No.8 Fletcher Anderson.
Christchurch have won 17 of the past 18 matches against Christ’s and 92 of the 145 total games. Christchurch improves to 4-1 in the UC Championship.
In other traditional matches Hamilton Boys’ High School defeated Auckland Grammar School 19-17. New Plymouth Boys’ High School thrashed St Patrick’s College, Silverstream 35-8 and Nelson College trounced Marlborough Boys’ College 48-14 to achieve their fourth win in five UC Championship games.
Above: The Crusaders Region First XV points table after today's games in Christchurch and Nelson.
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New Plymouth Boys' High School has gained a spot in the national knock-out competition with a win over cross-town rivals Francis Douglas Memorial College 21-15 this afternoon.
The victory also locks away the Carroll-George Trophy for another year and continues the bragging rights between the two Taranaki schools.
Played in front of a packed Gully, tensions were high as Boys High formed a huddle after their haka that gave Francis Douglas no opposition during their challenge.
However, Francis Douglas opened the scoring early as first five-eighth Eli Kneepkens slotted a penalty kick from right out in front.
Francis Douglas maintained the pressure as Kneepkens scored himself and slotted the subsequent conversion to lead 10-0.
Boys High got back into Francis Douglas’ half with fullback Mason Milham, who was promising all day, scored a try in the corner as the defence opened up.
First five-eighth Jack Parker was in fine form as he slotted the first of three conversions, from wide out.
With a 10-7 lead at the break, Francis Douglas didn’t appear to be switched on in the opening minutes of the second spell. Parker stabbed a beautifully weighted kick behind the Francis Douglas defence that allowed wing Jone Rova to score.
After a solid build up by Francis Douglas and some missed opportunities, hooker Mathew Picard picked up a loose ball and scored for the visitors to take the lead. Kneepkens missed the conversion.
Boys High then scored with 10 minutes remaining as loose forward George Birkett slid over the line.
When time was up Francis Douglas attempted to win the game adding pressure deep in Boys High’s half, but that wasn’t enough as the home team won a turnover and kicked the ball into touch.
Francis Douglas, who beat Palmerston North Boys' High School last week, would have been disappointed with their set piece that turned over quality ball at crucial times. However, fullback Jeremy Gopperth kicked well in general play and showed his speed.
Along with Milham, William Guthrie was strong in the midfield and carried hard throughout the match.
New Plymouth Boys High School: 21 (Milham, Rova, Birkett tries; Parker 3 con)
Francis Douglas Memorial College: 15 (Kneepkens, Picard tries; Kneepkens one pen, one con)
Mid-table has an all too familiar ring to it for Whanganui Collegiate School rugby supporters.
The First XV has had five consecutive sixth placed finishes in the Central North Island (CNI) competition, but there are promising signs that the school can improve this year and push for a top finish in the competition that kicks off in just under a fortnight.
Last year Whanganui Collegiate made the final of the Quadrangular Tournament for the first time since 2004, beating Nelson College 19-13 – which was their first win in 22 matches at the quad stretching back to 2006.
Last week Whanganui Collegiate broke another duck stretching back to 2004 – beating New Plymouth Boys’ High School. At the famous Gully ground no less.
New Whanganui Collegiate First XV Head Coach Steve Steve Simpson was pleased with the school’s 32-26 win.
“We scored six tries to their four and we only managed one conversion, so it could have been more if our kickers had been on form,” said Simpson.
New Plymouth started the match with a try in the second minute, but Whanganui bounced back with three first half tries to lead 15-7 at the break.
The second half was tit for tat and a New Plymouth try with 15 minutes to play had Whanganui head 22-21. Whanganui’s Harry Godfrey latched on a loose ball and ran 50 metres to score to make it 27-21.
Now inside the last 5 minutes, New Plymouth scored again to cut Whanganui’s lead to 27-26, before Whanganui No. 8 Semi Vodoese drew in several defenders in a powerful burst before offloading to Joe Abernathy who ran hard for the corner and passed inside to the supporting Beau Hourigan who scored the match-clincher.
This win came off the back of a recent tour to Sydney.
“We had four matches in Sydney and we won three of them,” said Simpson.
“We played games against Newington College, Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview, Trinity Grammar School and Waverley College.
“The team we lost to was Waverley College, who was Australia’s representative at the recent Sanix World Schools tournament in Japan. They made the semi-final.”
Last year’s Top 4 champions St Peter’s College, finished runners-up to South Africa’s Paul Roos at the same tournament.
Simpson has taken over coaching the team this year with Mark Godfrey, after the pair had coached the school’s U15s for the past two seasons.
Previously, he was at Francis Douglas Memorial College for nine years up to 2013 before a three-year stint working and coaching in England.
So the recent win at the Gully carried extra meaning for Simpson.
“I had a win for Francis Douglas at the Gully when the match was on Sky Sport in 2012 – so for me it was great going back with another team and winning again.”
New Plymouth Boys’ High School play in the strong Super 8 competition, which kicks off later this month.
Whilst at Francis Douglas, Simpson coached some well-known players.
“I coached all five of the Barretts. When we flew to Sydney recently I bumped into Jordie and Beaudy and Du Plessis Kirifi and Ricky Riccitelli at the airport. They had just flown up from Dunedin from playing the Highlanders and we were heading over to Australia.”
In the first year of CNI, Francis Douglas were second to Lindisfarne College and in 2013 they won it, beating St Paul’s Collegiate in the final.
This year, Whanganui Collegiate have two scheduled pre-season traditionals against Te Aute and Hato Paroa Colleges over the next two Wednesdays (although at the time of publishing this the Te Aute College match is likely to match to be re-scheduled following a death in the Te Aute rugby community) before opening their CNI campaign away against Wesley College on Saturday 18 May. Wesley joined CNI in 2016 and as yet Whanganui hasn’t beaten them.
Some other CNI matches double as traditional fixtures – including against Francis Douglas on Queen’s Birthday Weekend in New Plymouth - while they will be heading to Wellington College from 1-3 July to play in the 93rd annual Quadrangular Tournament.
Whanganui Collegiate will be playing the host school in the first match, while Christ’s College and Nelson College will meet in the other on the opening day. Whanganui haven’t won Quad since 1991.
Simpson said that the Whanganui squad is well-balanced this year, with nine players returning from 2018.
“We have got a good forward pack and some exciting backs, so we feel we have got potential in our squad. Against New Plymouth, we scored six tries and I took Francis Douglas to the Gully a few times and we never scored that many.”
Blindside flanker Henry Kilmister returns to captain the team, while returning hooker Ben Strang is the vice-captain and No. 8 Semi Vodosese offers punch in the forwards.
Second five-eighth Ta Atawhai Mason and fullback Beau Hourigan, who scored two tries against New Plymouth, are two backs to look out for.
Many of the players have come off a cricket season with the Wanganui Collegiate First XI, while one is a Maadi Cup rower and others have been involved in the school’s strong athletics programme in recent years.
Ben Strang (V Capt.)
Henry Kilmister (Capt.)
Te Ana Profitt
Te Atawhai Mason
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