Fiji Schools have caused a major boilover at Jerry Collins Stadium this afternoon, scrapping to a 15-10 victory over the New Zealand Barbarians Schools.
Fiji’s victory was entirely deserved and easily their most significant success in any fixture since a 22-20 win over the top New Zealand selection in Sydney in 2013.
The winning try was scored with about 20 minutes remaining. Scores were tied 10-10 when first-five Josua Koro snipped rapidly down the short side and finished after a 25-metre burst.
Repeat fumbles, a malfunctioning lineout and excessively aimless kicking coupled with a disturbing lack of spark at ground level - this was as bad as it gets from the Barbarians.
Initially things appeared to be heading in a promising direction for the hosts, casting an anchor inside the Fijian 22. However a fumble by centre Lukas Halls in the fifth minute allowed wing Ratu Apolosi Senibulu to dash beyond halfway. A penalty was conceded and halfback Jone Vatuwaliwali was on target from 35-metres.
Vatuwaliwali was an integral part of Fiji’s success. Essentially an extra loose forward on defense, Vatuwaliwali’s vision created the first try of the match. Another knock on was committed by the Barbarians and a kick into space was rundown by Apolosi Senibulu. The conversion made it 10-0.
Fiji’s discipline waivered inviting the Barbarians back into the contest. A number of kickable chances were rejected in favour of lineouts which often went astray.
Finally, after 27 minutes, the Barbarians got it right and lock Mahonri Ngakuru halved the deficit from a rolling maul.
Twice Fiji went close to scoring at the start of the second-half. In the 39th minute fullback Ratu Osea Waqaninavatu had a pass intended for unmarked outsiders intercepted five-metres shy of the line by Corey Evans.
Moments later Osea Waqaninavatu strode down the right wing side, failing to link with hungry and open support.
The Barbarians scrum was one effective area and a stable platform followed by precise handling allowed wing Caleb Cavubati to square proceedings after 42 minutes.
Fiji’s tackling was outstanding. Captain Alivereti Loaloa proved to be an inspirational leader and was well supported by lock Joeli Matalaweru and No.8 Eparama Tuivunivono.
Halls threatened occasionally for the Barbarians and Peniasi Lasaqa frequently sought work from the wing, but few individuals enhanced their future prospects in this fixture.
Unfortunately the Barbarians have suffered their least successful campaign ever, losing both matches for the first time.
On Friday, Fiji tackle the New Zealand Maori.
Video highlights below:
New Zealand Schools win well in second tour game
Meanwhile at Tennyson Field, Brisbane, the New Zealand Schools enjoyed a second victory on their Australian tour accounting for the Australian Barbarians 55-31.
Played in perfectly dry weather, New Zealand burst out to a 24-3 lead in as many minutes and despite conceding four tries were never in danger of usurped.
New Plymouth Boys’ High School fullback Blair Murray was exceptional, breaking at will to score two tries and create two other strikes in a man of the match display.
It was a top afternoon for Taranaki with Francis Douglas wing Jacob Kneepkens also autographing the scoresheet.
Wing Gideon Wrampling (St Paul’s Collegiate) collected a double while halfback Louie Chapman (Christchurch Boys’ High School) completed a 25-metre solo effort.
Forwards Tyrone Thompson (Napier Boys’ High School), Sam Darry (Christ’s College) and Tiaan Tauakipulu (St Kentigern College) were rewarded for their industry, each crossing the strip.
Zarn Sullivan (3) and Rivez Reihana (2) shared five conversions between them.
Australia had some bright moments. Zane Nonggorr, a 143 kg giant scored a 25-meter run way. Wing Haloti Fanua poached a 90-metre intercept to close the gap to 29-17 while centre Dennis Waight and wing Fred Tricks finished quality attack.
Niko Jones was a standout forward for New Zealand again and Wrampling is having a mighty fine tour.
On Thursday, New Zealand thrashed Tonga 54-0. Gideon Wrampling 2, Tamaiti Williams, Soane Vikena, Anton Segner, Niko Jones, Josiah Maraku and Blair Murray scored tries with Rivez Reihana kicking five conversions and Zarn Sullivan two.
New Zealand plays Australia in the final fixture of the tour on Saturday.
The New Zealand Maori Under-18 have edged the New Zealand Barbarian Schools 21-20 at Jerry Collins Stadium, Wellington this afternoon.
Match report and video highlights below.
Down 20-14 with about five minutes remaining the Maori strung together at least a dozen phases, eventually breaching the defence when reserve flanker Taylor Dale (Otago Boys’ High School) muscled over close to the posts.
The conversion by Bailey Gordon (Western Heights High School) reclaimed the lead for a spirited Maori outfit who were worthy victors.
The winning try was very much a metaphor for most of the game. It wasn’t a spectacular moment, instead a showcase of attrition and patience from a superior Maori pack.
Initially excitement levels were high with Maori wing Ruben Love (Palmerston North Boys’ High School) poaching an intercept and dashing 40-metres in the opening minute.
The Maori had a device edge at scrum time, but both teams made a bundle of errors as the spectacle failed to soar to great heights.
Barbarians wing Caleb Cavubati (Scots College) scored out wide to close the deficit to 7-5, but a try to openside Oliver Parkinson (Auckland Grammar School) gave the Maori a 14-5 advantage at halftime.
The Barbarians enjoyed the majority of possession at the start of the second-half and two missed tackles saw openside Noah Perelini (King's College) scamper away for a converted try to make it 14-12.
Barbarians captain Corey Evans (Auckland Grammar School) put his side ahead when he kicked a penalty at the 22, but another handy shot was wayward and ultimately costly.
Substitute props Chris Hemi (St Patrick’s College, Silverstream) and Junior Uelese (Scots College) provided plenty of punch with ball in hand and the latter rumbled over to make it 20-14.
The Maori generally played with more passion and ambition against the strangely cautious Barbarians. Front rowers Jayden Walker (Napier Boys’ High School), Bill Priestley (Gisborne Boys’ High School) and Niko Manaena (Southland Boys’ High School) derserve acclaim for their efforts while No.8 and captain Terell Peita was powerful.
For the Barbarians King’s duo Perelini and centre Lukas Halls were threatening.
The Barbarians next fixture is at the same venue against the Fijian Schools on Monday while the Maori appear again on Friday also against Fiji
The New Zealand Schools’ and New Zealand Schools’ Barbarians teams have today been selected for their 2018 campaigns.Players have been selected after three days in a development camp at Massey University’s Sport & Rugby Institute in Palmerston North.
New Zealand Schools’ Rugby Union chairman Garry Chronican named the New Zealand Schools’ team which features nine players from last year’s Schools' programme.
The New Zealand Schools' team is;
Iona Apineru St Patrick's College - Silverstream
Louie Chapman Christchurch Boys' High School
Sam Darry Christ's College
Chay Fihaki Sacred Heart College
Taufa Funaki Sacred Heart College
Matt Graham-Williams St Kentigern College
Niko Jones St Peter's College
Jacob Kneepkens Francis Douglas Memorial College
Joshua Lord Hamilton Boys' High School
Josiah Maraku Feilding High School
Thomas Martin Hamilton Boys' High School
Saula Mau Auckland Grammar School
Blair Murray New Plymouth Boys' High School
Simon Parker St Peter's School - Cambridge
George Prain Rangiora High School
Isaiah Punivai St Kentigern College
Rivez Reihana St Kentigern College
Anton Segner Nelson College
Zarn Sullivan King's College
Tiaan Tauakipulu St Kentigern College
Patrick Thacker Christ's College
Tyrone Thompson Napier Boys' High School
Soane VikenaMt Albert Grammar School
Ethan Webster-Nonu Scots College
Tamaiti Williams St Kentigern College
Gideon Wrampling St Paul's Collegiate
Coach Brad Mooar said the quality of players at this week's camp had been exceptional which made for a tough task in selecting the team.
"The selectors did a really great job in getting such a strong group of players together who have really embraced the last few days and made for an energising and positive environment.
"We have a few returning players which is good but these young men have bonded very quickly, its a tight group of players already and we hope this campaign will be the best rugby experience that they have had," said Mooar.
The New Zealand Schools' team travel to Brisbane, Australia for three matches against Tonga Schools', Australia Schools' Barbarians and Australia Schools'.
Former president of the New Zealand Barbarians Club, Ron Williams, announced the New Zealand Schools' Barbarians team.
The New Zealand Schools' Barbarians is;
Arthur Allen Christ's College
James Arscott Otago Boys' High School
Caleb Cavubati Scots College
Stewart Cruden Palmerston North Boys' High School
Corey Evans Auckland Grammar School
Zach Gallagher Christ's College
Josh Gimblett Napier Boys' High School
Lukas Halls King's College
Tahu Kaa Christchurch Boys' High School
Benet Kumeroa Auckland Grammar School
Peni Lasaqa St Kentigern College
Mahonri Ngakuru St Kentigern College
Jacob Payne Southland Boys' High School
Noah Perelini King's College
Robert Rush St Kentigern College
SamSmith Wairarapa College
Roderick Solo Scots College
Ropati So'oalo Aotea College
Poukohe Sorenson Rotorua Boys High School
Kristian Standen New Plymouth Boys' High School
Patrick Teddy Napier Boys' High School
Junior Uelese Scots College
Keelan Whitman St Patrick's College - Wellington
Coach Cory Brown said his team is full of potential and looking forward to playing the Barbarians style of rugby.
"Being a part of the Barbarians legacy is a unique opportunity for these players. There is a huge a amount of history in the club and some great players have gone through their ranks. This group is looking forward to adding to that and having a great week together."
"I have no doubt that if we build strong relationships in this group and focus on our preparation that we will perform well on the field," said Brown.
The New Zealand Schools' Barbarians have two matches against New Zealand Maori Under 18s and Fiji Schools'.
New Zealand Schools v Tonga Schools, Brisbane
New Zealand Barbarians Schools v New Zealand Maori Under 18, Wellington
New Zealand Schools v Australian schools Barbarians, Brisbane
New Zealand Barbarians Schools v Fiji Schools, Wellington
New Zealand Schools v Australian Schools, Brisbane
What do Waiopehu College, Putaruru High School, Mana College and Cargill High School all have in common?
They are small, coeducational state schools who have produced All Blacks.
With very rare exceptions, it’s unlikely the aforementioned schools will ever produce such athletes again.
Reaching the elite level of New Zealand rugby has become increasingly exclusive and inaccessible.
While First XV rugby grapples with the demands of professionalism, it has struggled to maintain equality of competition and opportunity.
This fact is best illustrated by the recent naming of the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ development squad.
A total of 53 players were selected - 21 of whom were from six private schools: Saint Kentigern College, King’s College, St Peter’s School, Cambridge, St Paul’s Collegiate, Scots College and Christ’s College.
According to the Ministry of Education just under five percent of all students in New Zealand attend private schools.
Removing preparatory, girls and special character schools, there would be no more than 20 boys First XV’s among New Zealand’s private high schools, yet nearly half of the contenders for the final New Zealand team this year were from private schools.
In the final New Zealand Schools' squad announced this afternoon a record 11 out of 26 boys were from private institutions.
St Peter’s College (a Catholic state boys school in Auckland) won the National Top Four Championship. Captain Niko Jones was the only player selected for the New Zealand camp. Saint Kentigern College (in the same city) had eight picks.
It costs $20,569 annually for day students to attend St Kent’s. St Kent’s didn’t win the local championship, despite going through the round robin undefeated. St Kent’s generous distribution of scholarships didn’t necessarily guarantee success.
The proliferation of private school boys in the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ team is one of the obvious signs going to the ‘right school’ is increasingly important for getting a look in at the top level.
A total of 106 private school boys represented the New Zealand Schools’ from its inception in 1978 to 2017.
Between 1978 and 2008 there were 64 private school boys who played for New Zealand. There were only 13 between 1978 and 1990 with none between 1981 and 1984. Even as recently as 2010 not a single private school boy was selected for the final New Zealand Schools’ squad.
Between 2011 and 2017 there have been 41 private school boys represent New Zealand. The ability to offer scholarships combined with superior resources and apparently better coaching offers obvious appeal for aspiring professionals, but are private schools really that much better?
Zarn Sullivan moved from Napier Boys’ High School (a state school) to King’s College and made the New Zealand Schools'. King’s lost the 1A Auckland final, Napier lost the National Top Four final. Had Sullivan stayed in the Hawke’s Bay, it’s highly likely he would have made the New Zealand Schools’ anyway.
The smaller concentration of talent isn’t merely confined to private schools. Attending the ‘right’ state school is essential for getting ahead.
Since 2003, Hamilton Boys’ High School have produced 35 New Zealand Secondary Schools’ representatives. Cambridge High School brothers Luke and Mitchell Jacobson are the only boys not from Hamilton or the two private schools, St Paul’s Collegiate and St Peter’s School, Cambridge to be selected for the New Zealand Schools’ from the Waikato in this period.
In the Waikato there are four schools who don’t even compete in the local First XV competition.
Hamilton Boys’ are superbly coached by Nigel Hotham and Greg Kirkham and have a number of strategic advantages which help their First XV program flourish which include: a hostel, a large roll, historical success and a strong relationship with leading Fijian schools and the Chiefs Super Rugby franchise.
Similarly down south the only non-Otago Boys’ High School player in the last decade to make the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ is Gavin Stark from Blue Mountain College.
Auckland Grammar School and Westlake Boys’ High School are two reputable state schools with a strong rugby reputation.
As of February 2017, the average house price in the Auckland Grammar zone was $2.16 million and Westlake’s was $1.94 million. Attending certain state schools is becoming increasingly inaccessible to the average income earner.
In Australia and England rugby has almost always been the domain of wealthy private schools. New Zealand’s more egalitarian model has been seen as an advantage over our rivals.
Rugby in New Zealand is no longer a ‘common man's’ game. Satisfying the demands of ‘high performance’ while also keeping boys without the privileges of a select elite in the game is a major challenge.
In June 2018, New Zealand Rugby announced a review of Secondary Schools Rugby in New Zealand. The final report and recommendations will be published in December.
Addressing the inherent class structure that now exists in the game is perhaps the biggest challenge rugby has faced for some time.
The New Zealand Māori Rugby Board has announced the Māori Under 18 team for their 2018 programme.
The team will face the New Zealand Schools Barbarians and Fiji Schools in Wellington in a two-match series later this month.
Players were identified through regional and national camps and selected on form from school, regional and club rugby.
New Zealand Māori Board Chair Dr Farah Palmer said it was an exciting programme for the team.
“This team and the programme that it is part of, embodies the principles of Poutamatanga and Taumatatanga that drive Māori Rugby.
“We are very proud of the large number of Māori players who have already been selected to attend the New Zealand Schools camp. Selecting talented Māori players in this team enables us to identify, develop and encourage our next generation of players to show their talent at this level within a Māori environment,” said Dr Palmer.
The team will assemble in Wellington on 22 September before matches against the New Zealand Schools Barbarians (27 September) and Fiji Schools (5 October).
The team is;
Bailey GordonWestern Heights High SchoolTe Arawa
Billy PriestlyGisborne Boys' High SchoolNgāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauiti
Chris HemiSt Patrick's College, SilverstreamNgāti Kahungunu
Cortez-Lee RatimaHamilton Boys' High SchoolNgāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tama
Damarus HokiangaHastings Boys' High SchoolNgāti Kahungunu
Daniel RonaNew Plymouth Boys' High SchoolTe Atiawa
Jack GrayPonsonby Rugby ClubNgāti Whakaue
Jayden WalkerNapier Boys' High SchoolNgāti Kahungunu
Jordan Thompson-DunnHastings Boys' High SchoolNgāti Kahungunu
Kynan Stowers-SmithSt Bede's CollegeNgāti Tama
Leo Ngatai-TafauSt Peters College (Auckland)Ngāti Porou, Tainui
Leo ThompsonNapier Boys' High SchoolNgai Tā Manuhiri, Ngāti Rangiwewehi
Niko ManaenaSouthland Boys' Boys High SchoolNgāti Porou, Ngai Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu
Nikora BroughtonHato Paora CollegeNgāti Ruanui, Ngā Rauru, Te Āti Haunui ā Papaprangi
Oliver ParkinsonAuckland Grammar SchoolTe Arawa, Te Rarawa
Raniera PetersonUpper Hutt RamsNgāti Kahungunu
Ruben LovePalmerston Boys' High SchoolTe Atiawa
Samuel Sexton-WaltonKaramu High SchoolNgāti Kahungunu
Taylor DaleOtago Boys' High SchoolNgāpuhi, Ngāti Whatua
Te Paea Cook-Savage St Paul's CollegiateNgai Takato
Te Rama ReubenRotorua Boys' High SchoolNgāti Awa, Ngati Rangi, Te Arawa
Terrell PeitaMt Albert GrammarTe Rarawa Kaiwhare
Thomas Murray-Edwards New Plymouth Boys' High SchoolNgati Whakaue
Tiaki FabishNapier Boys' High SchoolNgāti Maniapoto, Te Whanau ā Apanui
Zach RirinuiRotorua Boys' High SchoolNgai Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui
Unavailable due to injury: Werohika Witaka and Sione Tuliakiono
The management staff is
Rua WanoaCo-Head CoachNgāti Porou
Kahu CareyCo-Head CoachRangitane, Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō
Jeremy WaraForwardsTainui, Ngāti Tahinga, Ngāti Tiipa
Anthony RehutaiForwardsNgāti Porou
Ngatai WalkerBacksNgāti Porou
Stacey GrantBacks/trainerNgāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa
Mihaere EmeryCultural AdvisorTuhoe, Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Koroki Kahukura, Ngāti Raukawa
Mark SeymourManagerNgāti Hikairo
Tiki EdwardsCampaign ManagerWhakatōhea, Ngāti Raukawa
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
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