The Hurricanes Regional First XV final this Saturday between Hastings Boys’ High School and St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in Palmerston North promises to be a mouth-watering prospect. It features two unbeaten teams who combined have scored nearly 2,000 points this season,
Such scoring prowess at Hastings was unfathomable three years ago when they were rooted at the bottom of the Super 8 standings. Fullback Danny Toala explains what’s changed.
“Commitment. As a team we decided to do one thing and that was rugby. Nobody plays other sports,” he explains.
The devotion to rugby has paid off. Hastings made the National Top Four final last year and have only lost once in their last 37 games. Silverstream is just another job.
“Silverstream is a good side. They have good forwards, a strong set-piece and are dangerous on the left side when attacking,” Toala says.
“They are a strong team and we are going to have to play well to beat them, but we are treating this like any other game,” he continued.
Hastings was recently held to a 12-12 draw against Hamilton Boys’ High School. Hastings have only kicked one penalty this year, but had several chances to kick for three in the Super 8 decider.
Has Hastings become complacent?
“I watched that game and thought afterwards we could have kicked some penalties, but I have no regrets. We back ourselves and make decisions based on the game rather than what everyone expects us to do,” Toala states.
Toala has scored 147 points this season, including 10 tries. His biggest haul in a single game is 29 against Tauranga Boys’ College. Toala wasn’t a goal-kicker two years ago.
“I started taking the kicks last year because we didn’t have a kicker. At first I was shocking. I got on a roll around the top four and enjoy it now,” Toala says.
Toala has had plenty of kicking practice. Winger Kini Naholo has scored 39 tries alone this season, including five last Saturday in their
“Kini is a freak. We give him the ball and sometimes we can just sit back and watch.” Toala marvels,
Last Saturday Naholo scored five tries in the 78-0 victory over Wellington College.
In 2018 Toala will train with the Hawke’s Bay Magpies and either study at Police College or EIT.
The Hastings Boys’ High School versus St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream Hurricanes Boys final this Saturday kicks off inside the Arena Manawatu Stadium at 2.40pm.
Outside the Stadium, the Hurricanes Girls Final kicks off at 11.30am on the #2 field and the Hurricanes Co-ed Cup decider gets underway at noon on the #3 ground.
last year’s national runners-up and Condor 7’s champions St Mary’s, Wellington match up against a new face at this level in local school Manukura in the Girls Final. St Mary’s have been idle since beating Aotea College 51-12 in the Wellington final two weeks ago after injuries prevented Feilding High from meeting last weekend’s fixture, while Manukura beat Aotea 20-17 at the same stage.
Last year’s National Champions Feilding High School have practically taken out a mortgage on the Hurricanes berth in recent years and will be favoured to do so again this year, with Porirua College that latest in a series of challengers from the capital looking to knock them off. Feilding saw off Wairarapa College 43-18 in Masterton, while Porirua went straight through after Wairoa College were unable to travel.
She has already represented New Zealand teams in two sports, been named in a paper side for a third, and is a former junior national champion in a fourth.
So expect year 13 Gisborne Girls’ High School athlete Renee Holmes to make a big impression on the national stage in her fifth sport over the next several weeks when she plays for the Hawke’s Bay Tuis in the women’s rugby NPC.
If selected, Renee will line up in the midfield for the Tuis against the Wellington Pride in Saturday’s opening Farah Palmer Cup match at Porirua Park.
“That will be a big game, I’m pretty excited and I have got two pre-season games under my belt now so hopefully I won’t be too nervous.”
Renee needn’t be nervous. On Saturday she scored two tries, including a 60-metre effort in beating six players, in Hawke’s Bay’s 79-5 NPC warm-up win against the Wellington Samoan women’s team.
Last week she was awarded the Women’s MVP accolade at the Hastings Rugby and Sports Club end of season senior prizegiving, after finishing top points scorer for the team in her first full season of rugby.
Renee also recently captained her GGHS team to victory in the Hawkes Bay Secondary Schools competition against Hastings Girls’ High School, scoring a try and kicking two conversions in the 19-15 win.
Renee has been making the regular two and a half to three hour commute between Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay all season.
“I travel down to Hastings every Wednesday for training and then again for game day on Saturdays,” she explained. “My dad does the driving; he is willing to do the hard yards with me which is really cool.”
She has also been named as one of three Gisborne players out of 120 girls selected in the inaugural New Zealand U17 and U18 sevens development camp and trials coming up in October.
Renee is relatively new to rugby, but has a wealth of experience playing other sports that more than makes up for it.
She played National League football for the NZ U17 Girls side in 2015, and was twice asked to play for Central Football but withdrew before the season started.
“I played football before rugby, which I only just started playing last year.”
“I was really big on football and I moved to Auckland and to Massey High School in year 11. I was a holding midfielder or a fullback and I played for the New Zealand U17s in the National Women’s league.”
But the pull of family and home drew her back to Gisborne. “I have a little brother and my connection with him is really strong and it was really hard being away from and my dad. I realised that I wanted to be back in Gisborne to do my schooling here and be here around them while I can before I get older and find other opportunities elsewhere again.”
“Football wasn’t really strong enough here and I wasn’t allowed to play with the boys so once back home I gave rugby a go and I love playing that now!”
Renee started playing sevens rugby in early 2016 for her GGHS school team. They went to the Condors in Auckland in December. She started playing 15s rugby at the start of 2017. “There’s no women’s rugby in Gisborne, so I started playing club rugby down in Hawke’s Bay.”
As well as football and rugby, there’s also ultimate, kiorahi and taekwondo in her sporting catalogue.
Last year Renee was also the top point scorer at the U20 Women Ultimate World Champs in Poland. She scored 42 times in 8 games for New Zealand Kahu and was named runner-up MVP for the tournament to the Colombian captain, out of 900 athletes competing.
“When I was at school we picked up a team to compete at an ultimate tournament and went away, competed and I got asked to play in an Auckland regional team [no Gisborne team] and then made the New Zealand team. That was a long, hard-working campaign, but it paid off as we finished fifth after being ranked 21 going into the tournament.”
She was selected for New Zealand again this year, but had to decline because of her rugby commitments.
This year Renee was also named in the New Zealand kiorahi secondary schools team after her GGHS team finished third at the national tournament in Papakura. Although at this stage that team is a paper-based side, Renee hopes they can organise some trans-Tasman competition and that she will then have the time to compete.
She is also a former national WTF taekwondo champion, winning that title while she was still at primary school.
“That’s where I started off. I haven’t competed for a while now, but that was pretty much my thing when I was young and my passion for sport started from that.”
Coming from Gisborne, she also enjoys surfing and other sports. “I love surfing, but I just do that for fun and as my getaway from other sports. Lots of Gisborne girls also do waka ama but they train two-three times a day and I don’t have much time for that.”
Renee has enough on her sporting plate – but she loves it.
A fortnight tomorrow the New Zealand Barbarians National 1st XV Championships (Top 4) will get underway in Palmerston North, and this weekend shapes as a pivotal one in the chase for those places where the contenders will look to separate themselves from the pretenders. We’ll take a look at all three competitions, region by region.
Of the four, the Blues region is the most well-advanced. The biggest game in town is the Auckland 1A final at Eden Park where St Kentigern’s and Sacred Heart battle it out not just for the local title, but to stay alive and advance to next weekend’s Boys regional final. Both sides had to work hard in their semi-finals, with the scorelines - St Kents 17-13 over Auckland Grammar and Sacred Heart 21-0 over St Peters – indicative of that. The winner of that clash will take on Rosmini College, who were upset 18-12 winners over Westlake Boys at North Harbour Stadium last Thursday night, in the final next Saturday.
In the Coed Boys, North Harbour’s Rangitoto College beat Northland’s Kerikeri High School 39-12 today to book their place in the Blues final against last year's beaten Top 4 finalists Aorere College from Auckland
The Girls final has already been set. Southern Cross beat Onehunga HS on Monday in the Auckland final, and they’ll now visit last year’s Blues winners Kaipara College in the regional final, being played on Monday.
By contrast there are two full sets of semi-finals to be played in the Chiefs region. In the Boys two recently crowned winners of their respective competitions – CNI champions Wesley College and joint-Super 8 winners Hamilton Boys - will meet in Waiuku in one match, while at the other end of the franchise region Super 8 rivals New Plymouth Boys and 2015 National Champions Rotorua Boys lock horns once again at the fabled Gully ground. The winners of these two will face off next weekend.
In the Coed Boys St Peters, Cambridge makes the haul south to face the real minnows of any competition left standing in Opunake High School. The coastal Taranaki school musters barely 300 students and would be absolute outsiders against the well-performed CNI competition side (and a school of over 1000), who accounted for Te Awamutu College 64-6 last Saturday. The other match has Rotorua school Western Heights – who beat Tauranga school Te Wharekura o Mauao 24-14 – taking on Counties-Manukau’s Manurewa High.
In the Girls Tauranga Girls saw off Bay of Plenty rivals Rotorua and will now take on Waikato winners Hamilton Girls in the final.
The lower end of the North Island is at a similar stage to the Chiefs. The venues for this weekend’s Boys semi-finals were only determined on Sunday afternoon when St Pats Silverstream defeated Wellington College 17-11 in the local final. That means that Silverstream will face Palmerston North Boys, who won the qualifier rematch against Napier Boys, in one game – that match to be played at the Hutt Rec rather than at Silverstream itself, while Wellington face the daunting prospect of a trip up State Highway 2 to face the Hastings Boys juggernaut. Given that both away sides have already lost handily to their opponents this year a reversal would be a major upset.
The Coed Boys sees CNI runners-up Feilding High head to Masterton to take on Wellington Premiership side Wairarapa College after winning their areas over Wanganui Collegiate and Kapiti College respectively. The other match was to have Wellington’s Porirua College taking on wider east coast winner Wairoa College, but the northern Hawke’s Bay school are unable to travel and have defaulted.
The Girls has also unfortunately seen a default with Feilding defaulting to last year’s runners-up and Condor Sevens winners St Mary’s. That leaves just one game with Manawatu champions Manukura hosting Wellington runners-up Aotea, with the winner facing St Mary’s in the regional final next week.
The places in next weekend’s Boys final will be determined this weekend. In Crusaders country that will be the winner of the UC Championship between perennial contenders Christchurch Boys – who had to come from behind to beat Nelson College 40-34 – and first-time finalists Timaru Boys who saw off Christ’s 24-10 in the other semi. Down south in Highlanders territory old foes Otago Boys and Southland Boys will meet once again and as with their Traditional it’s the Dunedin school that will travel. Next week’s final will be hosted by the Highlanders winner.
In the Coed Boys Christchurch’s St Andrews College are already through to the final. They’ll host the winners of Saturday’s clash between St Peters College, Gore, and Dunstan HS, with the latter getting a second-chance after South Otago HS were forced to withdraw due to injuries.
And finally the first team to book their place in Palmerston North will be known after the only regional final being played on Saturday, when Christchurch Girls met defending National Champions Southland Girls on neutral turf in Temuka.
“We always thought we could do it. We have worked hard on our fitness all season and didn’t make the final to finish second,” Tupou Vaai insists when asked if he believed Wesley College could reverse a 28-11 deficit in the Central North Island final on Saturday.
In heavy rain, Wesley fell behind by a huge margin against Feilding High School and it was head prefect and captain Vaai who sparked the improbable comeback with an outstanding individual try midway through the second-half.
“We had the ball about 20-metres out and I took it into contact. I managed to push through a couple of defenders and score under the posts. Suddenly we were losing by ten points and that’s not many,” Vaai recalls.
Wesley’s forward pack spearheaded by the New Zealand Barbarians lock was energised and began to create frequent holes in the visitors’ defence. Vaai describes the next try.
“Our flanker Malupo Ma’afu got it. We did a lot of pick and goes and built pressure and Maatu scored close to the posts. The conversion made it 28-25.”
The clock wasn’t Wesley’s friend, but superior discipline was paramount.
“Feilding gave away a lot of penalties which allowed us to keep the game going. Our lineout was going well and we were mauling them backwards,” Vaai explains.
The last lineout of the game occurred roughly ten metres shy of the Feilding line. Wesley drove, but was unable to pierce through. Vaai captures what happened next with dramatic clarity.
“The maul splintered off into two and we nearly lost the ball. Our halfback Ronan Lawrence picked the right maul to go to, got the ball dummied it and hit a gap. He run about ten meters and scored under the posts. The crowd went crazy. The game wasn’t even over, but they run onto the field to celebrate.”
It wasn’t long until the spectators dispersed from the field were back on celebrating again. Wesley kicked the conversion and the fulltime whistle blew with Wesley 32-28 ahead and anointed Central North Island champions for the first time.
Wesley only joined the competition last year, but hold both the Taine Randall Cup and Rick Francis Memorial Shield. The later accolade was won when Wesley beat St Paul’s Collegiate 29-13, snapping St Paul’s 29-game unbeaten streak in the competition.
“That was a big result for us. We really believed we could win the competition after that game,” Vaai states.
Wesley only lost once after taming St Paul’s and that was narrowly to Feilding. The leadership of Vaai was a big part of changing that result. How does Vaai approach his captaincy?
“You have to front yourself first otherwise you have no respect. I try and do that and then encourage the boys as best I can.”
Vaai led the Chiefs Under-18’s to their first win against the Blues equivalent since 2008 in the term two holidays.
It seems Vaai is a natural leader. The Tongan native is the son of a labourer and chicken factory worker. One of eight children he is now the only boy in his family, but is spurred on by the memory of his late brother Tevita who tragically drowned at the age of four.
“I think about my brother every day. I always try to play for him. I am grateful for everything I have.” Vaai says.
This Saturday Vaai hopes to lead Wesley to victory over Hamilton Boys’ High School in the Chiefs Regional semi-final.
“I scored a try just after halftime to make it 24-3. In the heat of the moment I got too excited and jumped so high I popped my shoulder. I had to watch the rest of the game from the sideline in a sling,” Manurewa High School captain RJ Ioane ruefully laughs when reflecting on the Rainbow's End Counties/Waikato First XV final last Thursday.
For the remainder of the match, Cambridge High School made the Manurewa captain and flanker extremely nervous.
“We lost our discipline and they came back slowly. We had two yellow cards and suddenly it was 24-20. The boys dug deep and we held on, but it was hard to watch,” Ioane reflects.
The passionate Ioane was the most relieved individual at Growers Stadium, Pukekohe when the fulltime whistle sounded and Manurewa were the champions. The 2016 runners up tag was a bitter pill to swallow.
“We had quite a few boys back this year so our goal this season was to win the championship. We have a brotherhood now and it’s awesome to be the champions,” Ioane reveals.
St. John’s College, Hamilton has been dethroned. In 2016, St. John’s beat Manurewa on Land Rover First XV rugby and in the final. Their 2017 encounter was fierce with Manurewa winning 25-23.
“That was an emotional win because we wanted revenge. We knew if we could beat St. John’s we could win the title.” Ioane explains.
Manurewa had one setback when they were toppled by round robin winners Te Awamutu College, 27-32.
“We let ourselves down with our discipline. We learned a valuable lesson that day.” Ioane believes.
Manurewa won five of nine games by less than 10 points vindication for the existence of the competition which is only two years old.
“It was a close and tough competition. Definitely better than last year,” Ioane asserts.
St John’s College beat Te Awamatu College 26-16 in the playoff for third and fourth.
Manurewa have a number of handy players, but prop Tevita Kofeloa and second five Tala Potifara are particularly accomplished and both earned selection for the Chiefs Under-18 camp in the term two holidays.
Manurewa’s next goal is to qualify for the National Co-education Championship in September.
Canterbury Under 19 Head Coach Mark Brown has named his squad for the upcoming South Island Qualification fixtures.
The 29-man squad has been named ahead of the side’s warm-up match against Canterbury Metro on Saturday 12 August, with the first qualification match for the red and blacks to be played the following week.
Canterbury will play Southland, Tasman and Otago between 19 August and 2 September. The top two sides at the conclusion of the Southern Region matches will qualify for the Premiership division of the Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 Tournament later in September, while
the third and fourth ranked teams will compete for the Championship title.
Head Coach Mark Brown said the qualifying matches would provide his team with important experience leading in to the national tournament: “These South Island matches are crucial in terms of how we are placed for the nationals in September.
“We want to ensure we are in the best position to compete for the Premiership title and I believe we have named a squad that has the ability to do that. Just five players are returning from the 2016 team that finished as top qualifier in the South Island, but there is plenty of energy in this new group and they are embracing the challenge”, Brown said.
Flanker Tom Christie will captain Canterbury, having recently won the World Championship title in Georgia with the New Zealand Under 20 team.
Canterbury Under 19 South Island Qualification fixtures:
12 August 2017, 2:30pm, Linfield Park, Christchurch
Canterbury U19 v Canterbury Metro (warm up)
19 August 2017, 12:30pm, Invercargill
Canterbury U19 v Southland U19
26 August 2017, 1:00pm, Christchurch Park, Christchurch
Canterbury U19 v Tasman U19
2 September 2017, 1:00pm, Linfield Park, Christchurch
Canterbury U19 v Otago U19
Canterbury Under 19 team for South Island Qualification fixtures:
Cam Russell - Burnside
Connor Gordon - Lincoln University
Darragh McGregor - Marist Albion
Dom Devine - Lincoln University
Ewan Milnes - Lincoln University
Joe Robins - Waihora
Josh Archer - New Brighton
Kale Thatcher - Lincoln University
Milan Bonkovich - Lincoln University
Perry Karati - Lincoln University
Sam Matenga - Linwood
Sam Porritt - Lincoln University
Sean Youngman - Lincoln University
Thomas McKay - Lincoln University
Tom Christie - Christchurch (C)
Will Tucker – Christchurch
Atu Manu – Christchurch
Connor Collins – Lincoln University
Connor Garden Bachop – Lincoln University
Dallas McLeod – Christchurch
Derek Stowers – Sydenham
Josef Meek – Lincoln University
Logan Bell – Lincoln University
Ngane Punivai – Lincoln University
Rameka Poihipi – Lincoln University
Ryan Neill – Lincoln University
Sam Gilbert – Lincoln University
Samson Seinafo – Linwood
Zach McKay - Christchurch
Sam Lester – HSOB
Mosese Fifita – Sydenham
Keanu van Staden – Sydenham
Ben Renton – Lincoln University
Unavailable due to injury:
Ray Nu’u – Sydenham
Canterbury secondary schoolgirl rugby players Rosie Kelly and Grace Brooker are both hoping to make their fifth and final seasons in the Christchurch Girls’ High School rugby team memorable ones.
Both players were selected in the Canterbury Women’s Sevens squad as year 12s at the end of last year and both subsequently travelled to the Provincial National Sevens in Rotorua where they finished sixth out of 11 teams. Grace has also just been selected in the Canterbury Women’s Women’s NPC squad to contest the Farah Palmer Cup, while Rosie is part of the wider training squad.
Rosie and Grace are two of just four year 13 players in a youthful CGHS 26-player squad.
CGHS have qualified unbeaten for the final of the UC Cup Crusaders Girls competition next Wednesday night, where a win against the combined Burnside High School – Rangi Ruru Girls’ School side would see them likely face off against defending national champions Southland Girls’ High School on 26 August for qualification for the National Top Four tournament in Palmerston North.
Rosie is CGHS’s captain and is a specialist halfback, and she has the best halfback in New Zealand women’s rugby to aspire to. “I know Kendra Cocksedge pretty well, so it’s good to watch her play and learn off her.”
Canterbury halfback Cocksedge is starting at halfback for the Black Ferns in their Women’s World Cup opener against Wales on Thursday and played a starring role in their recent home series against England, Australia and Canada. Like Cocksedge, Rosie is also a goal-kicking halfback.
Grace is CGHS’s vice-captain and plays two positions. “I play openside flanker for my school team and fullback for my club team,” she explained.
Rosie and two others from the school team have been playing for the High School Old Boys club in Christchurch on Saturdays, who CGHS are closely aligned with. HSOB Rugby Director Jamie Livingstone is also their school head coach, while former Canterbury Women’s NPC players Anna McCone and Dahlia Kilkelly are also school team coaches.
“We just had our semi-finals and lost to Christchurch, so we finished fourth,” explained Grace. “They have Canterbury players such as Pip Love and Steph Fox playing for them.”
Heading into the UC Cup final on 16 August, CGHS have won all eight games, scoring 497 points and conceding 119. Rosie and Grace have scored just under half those points between them.
Rosie has scored 134 points, scoring 16 tries and kicking 27 conversions, while Grace has scored 102 points including 20 tries and one conversion.
Other players of note in the CGHS team include Jaidyn Busch (year 11), the National Junior Shot Put Champion last year and a powerful No. 8 and Canterbury School Girls player in 2016 and Naia Toaolamai (year 10), a utility back, with plenty of speed and rugby knowledge and a player for the future.
If they win the UC Cup - and with Tasman’s Mouteka High School just concentrating on sevens - CGHS will gain the automatic qualifier’s berth from the Crusaders region to play the winner of the Highlanders region on 26 August for the right to contest the Top Four national tournament in Palmerston North.
That is likely to be Southland Girls’ High School, the defending national champions. “I last played Southland Girls’ when I was in year 9 and not many girls in our team have played them before, although we have played them in sevens,” said Rosie.
Both the team’s leaders are boarders and deputy head prefects at school and both have been playing rugby for as long as they could pick up a ball and run with it.
“I’m from Hokitika. I moved over from the West Coast for sport, with more opportunities over here,” said Rosie. “I started playing rugby when I was four and followed my older brother into the game. In primary school I played everywhere in the backs and then settled at halfback.”
“I’m from Oxford and have been playing since I was little as well,” said Grace. “My whole family is involved in playing rugby except for my mum but she was my coach.”
After the fifteens season finishes, CGHS will turn their sights on the shorter format. “We will probably start training for sevens at the end of this term,” said Rosie. “Condors is our aim again. We have a Friday night sevens competition that starts in term four and we have to qualify for Condors.”
Last year, CGHS made the top eight of the Condors tournament, losing to Southland Girls’ High School 5-32 in the Cup quarter-finals. They then went on to beat Tauranga Girls’ College 17-10 in their Plate semi-final before losing to Howick College 5-26 in the Plate final.
This year CGHS will run two sevens squads in the local competition, with an eye on building depth developing younger players to carry on the mantle once Rosie and Grace and others move on.
There are also the inaugural New Zealand Secondary Schoolgirls U18 trials coming up in October which Rosie and Grace are training for. Molly Simpson and Lucinda Hutchinson from CGHS will also be trialling along with 10 others from the Crusaders region.
“You get nowhere by being negative,” asserts Gerry McKeown, captain of the Roncalli College First XV.
That attitude is easier said than done when your team has lost 42 consecutive matches. On Saturday McKeown’s infectious positivity was finally rewarded when Roncalli beat Burnside High School 40-14 - their first win in the UC Championship since 2014.
“It was huge. Were lucky to have a group of really loyal supporters who have stuck with us through thick and thin. They were pretty excited when we won and ran onto the field to celebrate with us at the end,” McKeown recounts.
Roncalli roared out from the kick off, leaping to an 18-0 lead. Prop Marika Parker and openside Will Harding-Richardt scored tries with Ben Thomson adding two penalties and a conversion.
Both sides traded a converted try each to make the score 25-7 at halftime. Flanker McKeown was disappointed with the defence slip.
“The first time Burnside touched the ball in our half they got a try. We were still weary at halftime because Burnside had comeback from 18 points down last week to beat Mid Canterbury,” McKeown reveals.
Roncalli kept their cook and struck straight away with a try to Ben Stickings, off a rigorous drive, before hooker Robbie Morrison made a sideline dash from 30 metres out to seal the win.
“Being ahead by so much was a strange position to be in, but the boys started to relax and enjoy themselves. Instead of kicking for goal we would take a lineout. It felt good,” McKeown explains.
The closest Roncalli got to a win in the losing streak was in 2016 when they were beaten 24-26 by Ashburton College. The largest loss was 0-98 to Christchurch BHS in 2015. McKeown reflects on the worst defeat of all.
“We were beaten 90-0 by Timaru Boys’ this year. That really hurt. We didn't even show up. That’s the local grudge match and it was embarrassing to lose by so many and have to bump into Timaru players in the street,” McKeown mourns.
McKeown insists First XV rugby has been an enjoyable experience with many valuable lessons learned.
“We turn up to training every week and prepare to win. We’re a small school, but we have never given up. I’ve learned a lot about leadership this year. I am better at motivating players and showing tolerance when mistakes happen. As a team we have learned to focus on our individual roles rather than trying to do too much and become selfish.”
Roncalli has three other teams at the school, two Under-14 sides and a Under-15 selection who compete in the local South Canterbury grades. Additionally their First XV is propped up by four country selections, hence their 2017 name of Roncalli Combined. McKeown signals out Philip Knubley for special praise.
“Philip is from the Mackenzie Country and travels an hour every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday to get to trainings and the game. He has played every game this season and always leads from the front with his play.”
Roncalli became part of the UC Championship in 2010 and stunned in their inaugural season when they finished fifth under the guidance of South Canterbury rugby stalwart John Simpson. Roncalli College was created by the merger of St. Patrick’s High School and Mercy College in 1981. Commentator John McBeth attended the former.
Roncalli concludes their season this Saturday when they tackle St. Bede’s College. McKeown acknowledges the enormity of the challenge.
“No Roncalli team has even beaten St. Bede’s. St. Bede’s are a great rugby school, but we will give it our best shot. Everyone remembers their last game at high school and we want the memory to be a good one,” McKeown concludes.
Hastings Boys’ High School might be beatable in 2017.
On Saturday Hastings pipped Hamilton Boys’ High School 20-16, requiring a try in the last five minutes to prevail and earn Super 8 final hosting rights against the same opposition this coming Saturday.
Hamilton suffered two yellow cards in the contest and led for much of the game. Captain Quinn Tupaea provides some clues on how to unsettle Hastings who have won all 16 games this season and scored 944 points.
“We tried to get under their skins by being real aggressive at the breakdown and focused on our game rather than what was in front of us,” Tupaea reveals.
“You have to take all your chances to win. It’s about building and maintaining momentum,” he continued.
Despite knee and concussion injuries, Tupaea is an imposing midfielder who has built plenty of momentum in his rugby. Last year Hamilton won 19 out of 24 games and finished third at the National Top Four. Tupaea was a member of the Condor Sevens winning squad and earned selection for the New Zealand Barbarians who beat Australia Schools 28-17 and Fiji Schools 46-20.
“It was awesome to be in the Barbarians. I learned a lot from that experience being around so many good players and despite being injured,” Tupaea marvels.
Tupaea is a Hamilton local and has been in the reps since the age of 11. His brother Tayne Tupaea played for the Hamilton First XV in 2015 which won the Super 8.
When Quinn was 16 he entered local folklore with a legendary kick in the Under-16 quad final against St. Paul’s Collegiate. Quinn kicked the winning penalty from halfway with his first kick of the season.
“I’m not sure it was that far out, but it was my first kick. Our kicker was struggling so I decided to have a crack myself. I think as a captain you have to lead by example,” Tupaea says.
Tupaea will be hoping to lead by example in the Super 8 decider on Land Rover First XV rugby. Hamilton was beaten 30-8 by Hastings in the same game last year, but beat Palmerston North BHS 21-3 and Hamilton BHS 33-14 in their two previous Super 8 finals.
“Hastings have a lot of threats, but we have shown when we don’t get complacent and are focused we can challenge anybody,” Tupaea stresses.
Follow the Draws & Results on College Rugby:
Two talented young rugby players with immensely promising futures have signed with the Gallagher Chiefs. 2017 World Rugby Championship-winning New Zealand Under 20s captain Luke Jacobson has committed to the Chiefs until 2020, and his NZ U20s teammate - exceptional playmaker Tiaan Falcon, has signed for two years.
Incoming Gallagher Chiefs head coach Colin Cooper said: “We are really rapt that Luke and Tiaan will be joining us for the next few years. These are two exceptional signings for the Club which secure the future of the Chiefs. I’m pretty excited to work with both these young men who are quality players with huge potential.”
“It has always been a dream of mine to be a Chief,” said 20-year-old loose forward Luke Jacobson. “I had a small taste of it this year, being a part of the Chiefs team to play in the Global Brisbane 10s tournament and also attending some trainings throughout the year and I enjoyed every minute of it. I’m really excited to be a part of the team.”
Tiaan Falcon, 20, said: “I’m really excited about this opportunity with the Chiefs, especially being able to develop my game at 1st five. I’ve heard really good things about the culture and the people at the Chiefs so I’m looking forward to getting there and really embracing this opportunity later in the year.”
Waikato loose forward Luke Jacobson is forging an impressive rugby career. Born in Te Awamutu and raised in Cambridge, Jacobson attended Cambridge High School, earning selection for the New Zealand Schools team in 2014. In 2016 he captained the Waikato U19s in the Jock Hobbs Memorial National U19s Tournament, leading his team to Graham Mourie Cup victory and being awarded Player of the Tournament in the process. Jacobson has experienced the Chiefs development pathways firsthand, having played for the Chiefs U20s team and the University of Waikato Taua Development team, with the latter captained by his brother Mitch. This year he received the Chiefs Under 20s Player of the Year award. The 20-year-old was a prominent figure in the Gallagher Chiefs Brisbane Global Rugby Tens squad, scoring a superb individual try in the final against the Crusaders.
Exciting first five-eighth Tiaan Falcon was a standout for the New Zealand U20s at the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia this year. The accomplished goal kicker was born in Penrith, Australia and moved to New Zealand at age two. He is the son of former Maori All Black and Hurricanes representative Gordon Falcon, grandson of former Maori All Blacks representative Ray Falcon and is a product of Lindisfarne College in Hastings. In 2016 at just 19 years old, Falcon made his Mitre 10 Cup debut for Hawke’s Bay - following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who also played for the province. He demonstrated great composure and tactical nous in his 10 appearances last year. Falcon is set to play a pivotal role for Hawke’s Bay again this season and further develop his halfback/1st five partnership with Hawke’s Bay and Gallagher Chiefs teammate Brad Weber.
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