“I just saw the line and went for it. A push in the back from Danny Toala helped get me over,” Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe recalls of his winning try for Hastings Boys’ High School in the National Top Four final against Hamilton Boys’ High School recently.
With three minutes to play Hastings narrowly led 18-17 when the big prop willed himself to the line in an inspired surge. Hastings coach Josh Syms says the effort is typical of the passionate Tavita-Metcalfe.
“Josiah loved training. He always wanted to do one more scrum, one more drive or one more defensive drill. He just wanted to get better every time he trained. His work ethic is rare,” Syms endorsed.
Tavita-Metcalfe is originally from Levin. In 2015 he was a standout for Horowhenua-Kapiti at the Hurricanes Under-16 tournament, attracting interest from both Feilding High School and Hastings Boys.’ Tavita-Metcalfe explains why he choose to accept a scholarship from the latter.
“The brotherhood at Hastings is really strong. I think that’s why we were successful. We had talented players, but we grew close and trusted each other.”
Tavita-Metcalfe actually lived with hooker and fellow teammate Damarus Hokianga.
“Hastings doesn’t have a hostel so I am grateful to Damarus and his family for taking me in. They are like a second family now,” Tavita-Metcalfe acclaims.
In an all-conquering season, Hastings at one point went eight games in a row without conceding a try. When they were held to a draw by Hamilton Boys’ High School in the Super 8 final though it was a timely reality check.
“Hamilton really took it to us. They are big boys and played well. It forced us to work harder,” Tavita-Metcalfe reflects.
Tavita-Metcalfe missed the Hurricanes regional semi-final against Wellington College, but was imperious against St Pat’s Silverstream scoring two tries in a resounding 47-17 thumping of the Wellington champions.
In the top four final, Tevita-Metcalfe not only scored the winning try, but made a storming run before halftime to create another five-pointer for Hastings. His league background has developed an appetite for running the ball.
“I love to run the ball and take people on. I am trying to improve all aspects of my game all the time,” Tavita-Metcalfe says.
Interestingly Tevita-Metcalfe attended Waiopehu College while living in Levin which is the same school as Carlos Spencer. Spencer was an All Black and in 1993 won the Bronze Boot award as the best player for the New Zealand Schools’ in the Australian Schools’ test. New Zealand won the game concerned in Rotorua 32-7. Future All Blacks Jonah Lomu (2), Christian Cullen and Pita Alatini also scored tries.
Tavita-Metcalfe will be joined in the New Zealand Schools’ by fellow teammates Devan Flanders, Lincoln McClutchie, Jeriah Mua and Danny Toala. Unfortunately fellow prop Kianu Kereru-Symes will miss the tour after sustaining a knee injury.
The New Zealand Schools play their first game on Thursday against Fiji Schools, in Sydney.
Hastings Boys’ High School results - 2017
Points For: 1035
Points Against: 122
Pre-Season: Kelston BHS, 53-0
Pre-Season: King’s College, 22-13
Pre-Season: Mount Albert GS, 43-5
Pre-Season: St Kentigern College, 15-5
Pre-Season: Wellington College, 50-10
Tranzit Festival: Wairarapa College, 48-7
Tranzit Festival: St Patrick’s College, Wellington, 106-7
Tranzit Festival: Rongotai College, 55-0
Traditional: Lindisfarne College, 75-0
Super 8: Palmerston North BHS, 100-0
Super 8: Napier BHS, 38-3
Super 8: Gisborne BHS, 70-0
Super 8: Rotorua BHS, 53-0
Super 8: New Plymouth BHS, 32-0
Super 8: Tauranga BC, 64-0
Super 8: Hamilton BHS, 20-16
Super 8 Final: Hamilton BHS, 12-12
Hurricanes Semi-Final: Wellington College, 78-0
Hurricanes Final: St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, 47-17
National Top Four Semi-Final: St Kentigern College, 29-10
National Top Four Final: Hamilton BHS, 25-17
Unbeaten team to win the National Top Four
1986: Auckland Grammar School - 22 wins, draw
1991: St Stephen’s School - 21 wins
1992: Auckland Grammar School - 22 wins, draw
1994: Gisborne Boys’ High School - 25 wins
2000: St Peter’s College, Auckland - 19 wins, draw
2001: Wesley College - 19 wins
2004: Christchurch Boys’ High School - 18 wins, draw
2005: Christchurch Boys’ High School - 24 wins
2008: Hamilton Boys’ High School - 18 wins, 2 draws
2010: Mount Albert Grammar School - 17 wins
2012: St Kentigern College - 20 wins
2017: Hastings Boys’ High School - 20 wins, draw
Note: Hamilton claim an unbeaten season in 2013, but lost to King’s College in pre-season, a result noted at King’s. Hamilton’s record therefore stands at 17-1, according to the school it’s 16-0.
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand