Kerikeri High School and Kelston Boys’ High School are the respective Under-15 YouthTown Condor 7s champions after a thrilling pair of finals in bright sunshine at Sacred Heart College in Auckland this afternoon.
Debuants Kerikeri High School pipped Hamilton Girls’ High School 21-20 in the female decider while Kelston Boys’ High School overcame a fast-finishing New Plymouth Boys’ High School 19-10 in the male finale.
In the last minute of the girls decider, Kerikeri was down 20-14 when Kerikeri Rangimaria Waiatarere received the ball on an angle 35-metres out from the line. She changed direction with searing speed and avoided the retreating defense to touch down under the sticks. The successful conversion propelled Kerikeri ahead by a solitary point, despite being outscored four tries to three.
Kerikeri only had to kick the ball out to terminate time, but failed to do so. Hamilton launched a desperate final attack, but after multiple phases lost the ball and Kerikeri celebrated widely.
Earlier there were two lead changes in a vibrant affair which turned in Hamilton’s favour shortly after halftime when they scored two unanswered tries. Chyann Kaitapu was exceptional for Hamilton scoring two tries. Captain Mia Anderson and Andrea Cotton scored the other tries for Kerikeri.
In the boys decider, New Plymouth Boys’ High School conceded the first try for the first time all tournament and then fell further behind when Kelston captain Naufahu Whyte made it 12-0 at the break.
New Plymouth gradually grew in stature and closed the gap to 12-10 by punishing Kelston mistakes. Mason Milham and Jone Rova scored tries for New Plymouth.
Soane Mapa Jr was always a threat for Kelston and when he soared into space for the last time, New Plymouth’s defense was unable to prevent him from scoring his second try and winning Kelton the title.
Kerikeri High School blanked Aorere College from Auckland 17-0. K-Lee Going was the hero for Kerikeri scoring all three tries. In a tough and messy tussle, Going skipped away for her first try after a quick tap following a high tackle penalty. Her double was completed on the stroke of halftime when she pounced on a loose ball and darted away. Later in the second-half good teamwork resulted in further solo glory. K-Lee’s uncle is the great All Black halfback Sid Going;.
Hamilton Girls’ High School thrashed Lytton High School 32-7. Lytton had the last laugh, but were resoundingly beaten by the National First XV top four runners up. Chyann Kaitapu scored three tries for Hamilton.
New Plymouth Boys’ eliminated Hamilton Boys’ 31-5 with a well organised and polished display. Mason Milham, Matua Robinson and Liam Wano all scored tries and impressed with their hustle, posie and skill for New Plymouth.
Kelston Boys ’overcame a spirited Westlake Boys’ High School 24-12. Kaleb Emile-Vagoa and Soane Mapa Jr each scored two tries as Kelston enjoyed superior individual flair.
The home crowd suffered early disappointment when Sacred Heart College was eliminated by Kelston. Sacred Heart started in a promising fashion by crossing for the first try. Kelston soon gained the ascendancy with their superior height and physicality telling. Kaleb Emile-Vagoa shoved aside two players and burst 65-metres for Kelston’s first try. Emile-Vagoa added another in the second spell, before Faith Kalekale bullied his way through to seal the hosts fate.
Manurewa were disappointingly inaccurate against Westlake, failing to score any points. A more committed and polished Westlake earned a whitewash victory. Chlayton Frans scored the winning try and Etienne Piere was robust defensively for Westlake.
Palmerston North Boys’ High School led Hamilton Boys’ 7-5 at halftime, but faded after the interval to lose heavily. Logan Love scored a converted try on the hooter to nudge the Manawatu visitors ahead. Hamilton pulled clear with three unanswered tries in the second-half. Westyn Cobb, Harry Russ, Noah Hotham and Dean Christensen crossed the chalk for Hamilton.
New Plymouth Boys’ survived a late rally to overcome St Peter’s College. New Plymouth raced ahead by posting the first three tries, but some individual brilliance by Ben Fuhiniu sparked a Catholic resurgence. Firstly Fuhiniu scored a 75-metre try gassing his marker on the outside and then he cross-kicked for Liam Wheeler to snaffle and score. Che Potaka eased New Plymouth nerves by breaching tired defense.
Boys’ Cup Quarter Final Scores:
Kelston Boys’ High School: 19 v Sacred Heart College: 12
Westlake Boys’ High School: 12 v Manurewa High School: 0
Hamilton Boys’ High School: 26 v Palmerston North Boys’ High School: 7
New Plymouth Boys’ High School: 20 v St Peter’s College, Auckland: 14
Boys Tournament Team
Brooke Robson (Westlake BHS)
Chicago Doyle (King’s College)
Piki Mihinui (King’s College)
Blake Makiri (Sacred Heart College) - MVP
AJ Falefaga (St Peter’s College, Auckland)
Terrance Graham (Feilding High School)
Asolelei Fretton (Kelston BHS)
Sione Tapuosi (Kelston BHS)
Jacob Te Huni (New Plymouth BHS)
Soane Mapa Jr (Kelston BHS)
Grady Walshe (Sacred Heart College)
Matua Robson (New Plymouth BHS)
Girls Tournament Team
Melvina Weilert (Aorere College)
Manaia Nuku (Hamilton GHS) - MVP
Keyani Leith (Hamilton GHS)
Shae Daley (Hamilton GHS)
Eva Fulton (Kerikeri HS)
Mia Anderson (Kerikeri HS)
Kelsey Teneti (Lytton HS)
Gaibriell Wainohu (Lytton HS)
Ruby Hutchieson (New Plymouth GHS)
Kylah Talamahina (Southland GHS)
Abby Lockhard (Howick College)
There will be new champions on Friday in both the boys and girls competitions at the Under-15 Youthtown Condor Sevens at Sacred Heart College in Auckland.
Both defending champions, Rotorua Boys’ High School and Rotorua Girls’ High School, were eliminated from the Cup in pool play on Day One.
Rotorua Boys’ won their first two matches against Feilding High School 12-10 and Kerikeri High School 24-10, but weren’t entirely polished in each effort. Rotorua’s initial victory against Feilding required an outstanding 75-metre solo try by Cassius Cowley to earn the cash.
By contrast hosts Sacred Heart played with greater aggression, precision and pace. In the deciding fixture in Pool A, Sacred Heart comprehensively accounted for Rotorua 22-0. Blake Makiri bagged a hat-trick for the hosts - scoring two individual tries from past halfway. The diminutive Sean Weir (with his searing turn of pace) and Gray Walshe (with his tigerish defense) were standouts for the Catholics.
Rotorua Girls’ were underwhelming losing two out of three games. In their first pool match Rotorua was upset 12-10 by Auckland’s One Tree Hill College. Milani Tuala-Taufoou and Poini Lutui scored tries for One Tree Hill.
Facing elimination, Rotorua had to topple Gisborne’s Lytton High School, but were overpowered 38-0. Gabriell Wainohu was outstanding throughout the day for Lytton. In the game prior against One Tree Hill she burst away for two tries from inside her own 22.
Manurewa High School beat Wesley College in a Counties local derby in Pool C which was telling in earning Manurewa a quarter final place. In a close and tough tussle, Liukhane De Thierry-Rhind,Koroi Ratusau and Tupou Langi scored tries for the victors.
Hamilton Boys’ and New Plymouth Boys’ looked particularly imposing. Hamilton achieved the only half century of the day while New Plymouth Boys’ was the only side not to concede a point. Otahuhu College was the only side not to score a point.
Hamilton Girls scored 123 points in three games which was the most of the 47 teams in both sexes competing.
U15s quarterfinals Friday:
Boys Cup Quarterfinals:
Sacred Heart College v Kelston Boys’ High School
Manurewa High School v Westlake Boys’ High School
New Plymouth Boys’ High School v St Peter’s Auckland
Hamilton Boys’ High School v Palmerston North Boys’ High School
Girls Cup Quarterfals:
Lytton High School v Southland Girls’ High School
Aorere College v One Tree Hill College
Hamilton Girls’ High School v New Plymouth Girls’ High School
Kerikeri High School v Howick College
Disclaimer: All names are based on numbers in the tournament program
The Youthtown Condor Sevens at Sacred Heart College, Auckland this weekend is a massive showcase of leading age group rugby talent in New Zealand. Who will claim the boys and girls open titles? The following individuals will be essential in the fortunes of their respective teams.
Chay Fihaki (Sacred Heart College) - An abrasive, goal-kicking halfback in the fifteen-a-side code, Fihaki is a Blues Under-18 rep and his quick distribution, size and creativity will be vital in the hosts giving a good account of themselves.
Luke Glen (St Bede’s College) - St Bede’s First XV had an awful year and an early season to Luke Glen didn’t help. A classy fullback with agile footwork, pace and vision, Glen is the captain of St Bede’s and his leadership and talent will be instrumental in the Southerners’ fortunes.
Kini Naholo (Hastings Boys’ High School) - It’s impossible to leave the giant NZ Schools wing of this list. Naholo was a sensation in the fifteen-a-side game this year scoring 41 tries, including seven hat-tricks. Naholo has flourished for Hastings in the summer, vital in their Hurricanes and Napier Sevens victories to.
Hayze Perham (Rotorua Boys’ High School) - Rotorua underwhelmed in the Bay of Plenty qualifiers finishing third, but they have been perennial contenders at the Youthtown Nationals in recent seasons making the top four every year since 2013 and winning the title in 2014. Hayze Perham is a National age group rugby and league rep with searing speed, smarts and experience. If Rotorua are going to threaten the top four again, Perham simply has to fire.
Johnny Sanft (Botany Downs) - Botany Downs First XV won 13 games on the trot to win the 1B title for the first time in their history in 2017. Imposing midfield back Sanft was an integral part of their success. Powerful and pacey with ball in hand, Sanft is also a devastating defender.
Jaylen Tuapola (Scots College) - The Hurricanes Under-18 rep was the leading try scorer in the WelTec Premiership in 2017 and has been in impressive form in sevens. Tuapola scored the winning try in the Wellington qualifying final in October and is the captain of Scots with his management and creative flair an obvious feature of Scots play.
Raiki Willison (Hamilton Boys’ High School) - The cousin of Maori All Black Jackson Willison, Raiki missed the First XV season after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. The New Zealand age group touch rep is back to full fitness and his speed and elusiveness shapes as a key part of Hamilton’s title defense. Willison was extremely unlucky not to be named on the Condor’s tournament team last year.
Emma Brown (St Mary’s College) - As well as sparkling attacking play, big defence will also be key to winning the Condors Sevens tournament. Much of St Mary’s College’s recent success has been built on their powerful defensive screen and Emma Brown is at the forefront of that. Much of the work she does allows others such as Ana Puleiata, Cheyne Copeland and Dhys Faleafaga to shine on the counterattack.
Carys Dallinger (Manukura) - Manukura loom as a dark horse contender at this year’s Condor Sevens and the former Feilding HS utility back Carys Dallinger could impress along the way. Helped win the recent Hurricanes Youth Council Sevens tournament for Manukura and a new member of the Manawatu Women’s Sevens squad.
Amy Du Plessis (Southland Girls’ High School) - Two tries for Southland GHS in their 2016 Top 4 final win, impressing again in this year’s fifteens nationals at first five-eighth given fewer opportunities. Also a netball and touch player, captain Du Plessis is dangerous in space and a potential catalyst for her side to go deep in this year’s Condors.
Rosie Kelly (Christchurch Girls’ High School) – Look out for CGHS to surprise. Along with Grace Brooker, Rosie Kelly is coming off a Women’s NPC title win with Canterbury. Understudy to Kendra Cocksedge, the halfback has been learning off the best and should be full of confidence. Captain and goal-kicker of her school’s 15s team and a Canterbury women’s sevens player at the start of this year.
Iva Livani (Howick College) – Two years ago Howick College won the U15 Condors and Iva Livani was Player of the Tournament. Last year they made the quarter-finals of the senior tournament and will be hoping to go one better. Year 12 player Livani’s dash and enterprise could prove hot to handle for opposing sides.
Montessa Tairakena (Hamilton Girls’ High School) - Hard running midfield back in fifteens rugby, Montessa Tairakena has the vision and creativity to trouble most opposition on the sevens field. Look out for her combination with teammates such as 2016 MVP Jazmin Hotham and Kiriana Nolan as last year’s runners-up look to go one better in 2017.
Tynelle Fitzgerald (Trident High School) – Key player for the Bay of Plenty Condors champions, debuting at this tournament at this venue. Trident will look to their BoP Women’s squad member to add spark and hope to spring a day one surprise on defending champions St Mary’s College.
Plus six of seven players in our 2017 Champion of Champions Girls Rugby will be at Condors this weekend (not included above). View the list here
The final act of the 2017 College rugby year will be played out this weekend, with the Youthtown Condor Sevens, being hosted again by Auckland’s Sacred Heart College. If its speedsters, steppers, and heavy hitters you’re looking for, that’ll be the place to find them.
32 Boys teams from across the country will line up, while the Girls field has again been expanded slightly to 24 teams. With the Under 15 tournament that precedes it now a two day event in its own right and containing 32 Boys (again including a team from the Cook Islands) and 16 Girls teams as well, over 100 teams and about 1200 players will be on the field over the four days.
The first question in the Boys field is can anyone stop Hamilton Boys’ High School making it a three-peat, having won the last title played at Kelston and the first at Sacred Heart. The obvious challenger to their crown is the school that beat them in the National XV’s final – Hastings Boys’ High School – who will be themselves looking to atone for last year’s disappointment where they failed to top their pool on day one and didn’t even progress through to the Cup rounds.
The rest of the field you could throw a blanket over with no shortage of teams that will fancy their own chances. Feilding High School were runners-up last year but might find things more difficult without someone of the caliber of Vilimoni Koroi in their ranks this time, Kelston Boys put a disappointing 1A XV’s season behind them to win the Auckland qualifier, while hosts Sacred Heart and Liston and Aorere Colleges are also threats from the big city.
From further afield Bay of Plenty trio Tauranga Boys, Rotorua Boys, and Western Heights could loom as threats, along with Wellington winners Scots College who return after failing to qualify for the past two nationals. The South Island is represented by a quintet of teams - Moascar Cup holders Nelson College, UC runners-up Timaru Boys, St Bede’s, St Peter’s Gore, and Kings High - that will look to upsets the odds and join the now-defunct Aranui High as the only mainland winners of the title.
The 32-team format is unforgiving, as –as Hastings Boys found out last year – there’s no real second chance if a team drops a game in pool play as time and the limited number of fields seemingly preclude a series of crossover playoffs.
The girl’s field is headlined by the four schools that made it through to the Top Four earlier in the year. Wellington’s St Mary’s won that and are defending champions here so wear the favourites tag, but Hamilton Girls – runners up both times – will be looking to finally get one over the side from the capital. Southland Girls and Auckland’s Southern Cross were the other top four schools and each have the sort of talent that puts the title within reach.
Other sides that bear watching however include Christchurch Girls who include Canterbury women’s rep Grace Brooker in their squad, along with another South Island team in Motueka High, while other sides to keep an eye on are Helensville’s Kaipara College, Auckland’s Howick College and Trident High from Whakatane, while a dark house could be Manawatu’s Manukura school who pushed St Mary’s in their Hurricanes XV’s final back in August.
The Girls format isn’t quite as ruthless as the Boys as two teams that finish second in their pool will also make it through to the Cup rounds. That however would seem to be leaving things to chance, and topping the pool remains the only way to assure passage to the top eight for day two.
Senior Tournament Pools:
Pool A – Hamilton Boys (Wkt), Massey HS (NH), Wesley College (C-M), Te Puke HS (BoP)
Pool B – Feilding HS (Man), Timaru Boys (SthCan), Manurewa HS (C-M), Western Heights HS (BoP)
Pool C – Tauranga BC (BoP), Hastings BHS (HB), Botany College (Akl), St Peters, Gore (Sth)
Pool D – Rotorua BHS (BoP), Francis Douglas (Tar), Napier BHS (HB), Cambridge HS (Wkt)
Pool E – Sacred Heart, Auckland (Akl), Kerikeri HS (Nth), St Bedes (Can), Kings HS (Ota)
Pool F – Liston College (Akl), Aorere College (Akl), Alfriston College (Akl), New Plymouth BHS (Tar)
Pool G – Scots College (Wel), Nelson College (Tas), Rangitoto College (NH), Otahuhu College (Akl)
Pool H – Kelston BHS (Akl), Rongotai College (Wel), Pakuranga College (Akl), Thames HS (TV)
Pool I – St Mary’s (Wel), Trident HS (BoP), Mt Roskill Grammar (Akl), Sacred Heart, NP (Tar)
Pool J – Hamilton GHS (Wkt), Bay of Islands College (Nth), Otahuhu College (Akl), Aotea College (Wel)
Pool K – Southland GHS (Sth), New Plymouth GHS (Tar), Mt Albert Grammar (Akl), St Margaret’s (Can)
Pool L – Motueka HS (Tas), Southern Cross (Akl), Cambridge HS (Wkt), Manurewa HS (C-M)
Pool M – Howick College (Akl), Manukura (Man), Rotorua GHS (BoP), Long Bay College (NH)
Pool N – Christchurch GHS (Can), Aorere College (Akl), Gisborne GHS (PB), Kaipara College (NH)
There are a number of schools that, despite having qualified, aren’t at the Condors with the travel and accommodation costs and the clash of dates with the Athletics nationals the main factors. That group includes boy’s qualifiers Mt Albert Grammar, Westlake Boys, Gisborne Boys, Whangarei Boys, and Wanganui Collegiate, along with, surprisingly, perennial contenders Feilding High in the girls.
Pool play starts at 9.30am on Saturday with the last games at 4.30pm. The Girls Cup final is at 4pm on Sunday, with the Boys Cup final following immediately afterwards.
Some more outstanding female rugby this year – and it continues next weekend with the Condor Sevens tournament in Auckland.
Grace Brooker (Christchurch Girls’ High School) - In July Grace Brooker was selected as one of four schoolgirls and two from her school (with Rosie Kelly) in Canterbury’s Women’s NPC squad. She scored two tries on debut against Manawatu and also bagged a brace in the semi-final win over Waikato and played in the 13-7 Farah Palmer Cup final win over Counties Manukau, as part of six appearances on the left wing and fullback. Already in the Canterbury Sevens team, deputy head prefect Brooker was a key member in CGHS’s UC Cup Crusaders schools win this year, playing as an openside flanker and was Women’s Player of the Year for her High School Old Boys club team.
Dhys and Lyric Faleafaga (St Mary’s College) - The two SMC sisters recognised together here in this list. Captain Dhys was the standout girls player at the 15s national Top 4 tournament in September, while at the start of this year Lyric was offered a Black Ferns Sevens training contract and recently won the College Sport Wellington girls rugby Player of the Year award. In April, Lyric travelled to Japan with the full Black Ferns sevens squad. She subsequently missed much of the 15s season with a shoulder injury, which has since been operated on and she is currently rehabbing. Dhys carried the family name in to the Top 4 tournament, where the loose forward-turned midfielder played two inspiration games against Southern Cross Campus and Hamilton Girls’ High School respectively to lift the Hine Pounamu Trophy for the first time. Dhys went on to make three appearances for the Wellington Pride in the Women’s NPC.
Renee Holmes (Gisborne Girls’ High School) – Gisborne’s Renee Holmes played in each of Hawke’s Bay’s opening three Women’s NPC matches this year and was named as her side’s most valuable player in two of them, going on to play five times in her first domestic season. With pace, strength and a strong kicking game in her armoury and the ability to play multiple backline positions, comparisons have been made to Charlie Ngatai (also out of Gisborne) as a female equivalent. Making the regular commute south to train and play, Renee was the Hastings Rugby & Sport club's women’s season MVP and the team’s top points scorer. Captained her GGHS team to victory in the Hawke’s Bay Secondary Schools competition, scoring a try and kicking two conversions in the final 19-15 win over Hastings GHS. Multi-talented Renee is a former National League footballer and is a NZ U20 Ultimate player.
Jazmin Hotham (Hamilton Girls’ High School) - The Year 12 student hit 2017 in hot form having won the MVP of the Condor Sevens in December of the previous year. The Hamilton Girls First XV had another top season finishing runners-up to St Mary’s College at the National Top Four in Palmerston North. Hamilton outscored all opponents 713-44. Hotham scored a 90-metre try on the stroke of halftime in the National Top Four semi-final against defending champions Southland Girls’ High School which changed the course of the game. Hotham typically plays in the midfield, but has the pace of a winger.
Georgia Ponsonby (Feilding High School) – Debut season for Manawatu this year in the Women’s NPC with a series of industrious performances off the back of the scrum for the Cyclones, alongside another schoolgirl regular Jessica Fagan-Pease (Palmerston North GHS) at lock. Georgia made a winning debut against Wellington and went on to play six matches. Captain of the Feilding High School team, Ponsonby is just at home in sevens rugby and is in her second year in the Manawatu women’s sevens squad that were beaten national finalists in January. Feilding are not heading to next week’s Condors but both Georgia and Jessica will be attending the development camp in Auckland in mid-December to prepare for the second annual World School Sevens tournament. Georgia has been a boarder at Feilding HS, with her family currently farming half an hour out of Taihape.
Risi Pouri-Lane (Motueka High School) - A key player in the well-performing Motueka High School team, Risi Pouri-Lane travelled to Japan earlier this year with the Black Ferns Development sevens team. Previously, the diminutive danger-woman was a star in the Tasman representative women’s sevens team at the National tournament in Rotorua in January. She plays first five-eighth in 15s rugby and played four matches in this year’s Farah Palmer Cup for them, scoring a try and landing four kicks in her final appearance of the year against Hawke’s Bay. Has already represented New Zealand in both judo and touch and has competed nationally in athletics.
The Champion of Champion series is not intended to be a definitive list of the ‘best’ athletes in each code, rather it celebrates many of the leading athletes and teams in each that College Sport Media has followed this year. Preference has gone to those individuals/teams that CSM has interviewed and profiled in 2017. Got a story? Email email@example.com
“We were too big headed last year.” Lincoln McClutchie of Hastings Boys’ High School complains when reflecting on the YouthTown Condor Sevens.
Hastings was one of the favourites to capture the title, but bombed in pool play and missed the Cup round.
“We have put in the hard yards this time,” he warns, suggesting Hastings’ “one game at a time” approach has been integral to their success.
In September, Hastings won the National Top Four First XV final 25-17 against Hamilton Boys’ High School, completing a 21 game season undefeated. In the last two seasons, Hastings have only lost once in 40 games. McClutchie has been a mainstay of the roster, repeating Year 13 in 2017.
“Losing the National final by a point last year was a big reason why I repeated. I felt I had some unfinished business,” McClutchie asserts.
Such is the standard of personnel at Hastings nobody is guaranteed a trip to Auckland next week. Shamara Brooks was the starting halfback in the National Top Four final, but he might miss the cut. McClutchie singled out Brooks’ efforts in the fifteen aside code for special praise.
“Our main halfback Folau Fakatava was injured in the top four semi-final meaning Shamara had to come into the team. Shamara was awesome. He stepped up big time in the final. His passing and decision making was really good,” McClutchie acclaimed.
New Zealand Schools representatives Devon Flanders and Danny Toala won’t be present at Sacred Heart next week as they have been selected to partake in the New Zealand Under-20’s camp at the same time. However prolific try scorer Kini Naholo and veterans Fakatava, Trent Hape and Dennon Robinson will almost certainly feature.
“We have quite a young team so there is a lot of competition for places. The seniors are going to have to step up,” McClutchie observers.
Hastings lead-in form has been excellent winning both the Hurricanes and Napier club colts sevens titles.
Hastings’ group at Condors features 1B Auckland champions Botany College, Highlanders Sevens champions St Peter’s College (Gore), and Bay of Plenty Sevens Champions, Tauranga Boys’ College - the team who eliminated Hastings from top eight contention last year.
Hastings best finish at Condor’s was in 2015 when they were beaten in the final by Hamilton Boys’ High School.
In 2018, McClutchie, a New Zealand Schools rep for the past two years, will remain in Hastings as a member of the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Academy. He has recently started a building apprenticeship.
Lincoln McClutchie Highlights from The Waterboy
“We’ve got a group of experienced boys who have stayed together for a while now and that are a big part of our success,” Cullen Grace enthuses when asked to explain the success of Timaru Boys’ High School rugby in 2017.
The South Canterbury outfit made the UC Championship final for the first time since the inception of the competition in 2001 and have just added a maiden Canterbury Secondary Schools sevens title to their roll of honour.
In the final of the Canterbury qualifier, Timaru overcame St Bede’s College 29-24, but their course to Condors wasn’t all plain sailing.
“We were in a tough group and lost to Christchurch Boys’ High School. We avoided Christchurch in the final. They were beaten by St Bede’s in extra time in the semis which was a surprise.” Grace reflects.
Timaru’s additional wins over St Andrew’s College, Cashmere High School and Shirley Boys’ High School ensured a second trip to Sacred Heart, Auckland for the YouthTown National finals. Timaru made their debut last year and finished a lowly 23rd. Grace believes that experience will help Timaru in a fortnight.
“The speed and size of the North Island boys was a bit of a shock, but I think we will be better prepared for that this time. We have been working pretty hard and have most of last year’s team back,” he says.
The Timaru team who won the Canterbury title was: Grace, Tevita Eukaliti, Melvin Pauni, Sione Lolohea, Brad Cvitanich, Hamish Dunbar, Harry Bampton, George Brown, Maka Mafileo, Jimmy Robertson, Ryan Greenslade and Shane Fikken.
Only Tevita Eukaliti didn’t appear in the 2016 Timaru roster, but Grace is adamant the Tongan will made a big impact.
“Tevita is one of the quickest guys in the team. He was a real standout at the Canterbury Sevens. Were not a team of big names, but we work hard for each other and Tevita can really go,” Grace acclaims.
Grace is a player who achieved critical acclaim in 2017. Grace toured Australia with the New Zealand Secondary Schools team and played the entire match against the Australian Barbarians which was won 49-6.
He is a key winner of kick-offs and lineouts in sevens and enjoys the chance to roam a little wider than usual. Grace’s leadership is also pivotal. He has been the captain of both the fifteens and sevens squads for two years. Is his approach different in each code?
“Not really. “It’s pretty much the same, except everything happens quicker. I try to lead by example,” Grace responds.
Timaru is grouped alongside Manurewa High School, Western Heights High School and 2016 runners-up Feilding High School. This pool appears to be one of the most even at the tourney.
In 2018, Grace will head to Lincoln University in Christchurch on a rugby scholarship, He will study a Bachelor of Science.
Huge opportunity for the under 17 players who have been identified as players with future potential and selected for the 2018 Blues Under 17 Development Squad.
The players have been invited to attend three development days as part of the Blues Under 17 Development Programme. Development days will be held at the Blues High Performance Centre, with the first on Saturday, 9 December 2017, from 9 am to 3 pm and the 2018 camps on Friday, 19 January, and Friday, 13 July.
The players selected are:
Jackson Wiggans – Glendowie College
Josh Jacomb – Sacred Heart College
Mateo Taiseni – Sacred Heart College
Cameron Church – St Kentigern College
Harrison Dakin St – Kentigern College
Tiaan Tauakipulu – St Kentigern College
Valance Yates – St Kentigern College
Vaiolini Ekuasi – De La Salle College
Sofai Maka – De La Salle College
Ioane Moananu – De La Salle College
Waiora Morris – Kings College
Levi Uluakiahoia – Kings College
Manu Paea – Otahuhu College
Alfred Nonu – Tangaroa College
Raymon Sua – Kelston Boys
Kennedy Limpus – Kelston Boys
Dylan Moon – Mt Albert Grammar
Joel Cobb – Mt Albert Grammar
Luka Klubien – Mt Albert Grammar
Zach Patai – Auckland Grammar School
Rylee Samuela – Auckland Grammar School
Saia Moala – Auckland Grammar School
Naryan Strickland – St Peter’s College
Semisi Tapa – St Peter’s College
Chay Fihaki – Sacred Heart College
Brian Lealiifano – Sacred Heart College
Junior Mafileo – Tamaki College
Aidan Morgan – Kings College
Soane Vikena – Mt Albert Grammar
Corey Evans – Auckland Grammar School
Rocky Momoisea – St Paul’s College
Leon Pearson – Orewa College
Ryan Mead –Rangitoto College
Eric Leef – Rangitoto College
Jarrad Harford – Westlake Boys H S
Jock Mc Kenzie – Westlake Boys H S
Jordan Quinn – Westlake Boys H S
David Toia-Hafoha – Westlake Boys H S
Frey Carlton Paora Chamberlin – Birkenhead College
Karl Ruzich – Kaipara College
Jack Natupu – Takapuna Grammar
Jackson Rice – Takapuna Grammar
Ryan Nankivell – Bay of Islands College
Memphis Ngaruhe – Kaitaia College
Dennis Koro – Kerikeri HS
Chad Boyd – Kerikeri HS
Keenan Rush – Kerikeri HS
Jordan Dwight – Kamo High School
Patrick Allebera – Rodney College
Javarne Porter – Rodney College
Esile Fono – Whangarei Boys High School
Howick College is a state co-educational secondary school founded in 1974 and located in the eastern Auckland suburb of Cockle Bay. The school has a roll of 2093 students and the motto is Whakamanawahia tētehi hapori o ngā ākonga hihiri - Inspiring a community of passionate learners.
Howick has little history as a rugby programme, but they have made rapid strides in their brief existence in sevens.
Howick first competed in the YouthTown Condor 7s in 2014 - the year girls rugby was introduced at the college. Howick finished runners-up. In 2015, Howick went one better and captured the Under-15 National title. They beat fellow Auckland schools Southern Cross (19-17) and Otahuhu College (19-5) in the semi-final and final and Iva Livani was the Player of the Tournament.
In 2016, Howick competed in the open grade for the first time and made the quarterfinals, losing to Motueka High School (12-17) and going on to win the Plate with wins over Southern Cross (31-5) and Christchurch Girls' High School (5-26).
Howick was third in the recent Auckland qualifier which was sufficient to claim a place at Sacred Heart College in December, with five girls having just returned to the side from the National championship winning netball team.
Howick won netball title in their very first appearance at the tourney. Myia Hetaraka, Iva Livani, Shalom Setu-Veve, Teuila Sotutu and Lasalle Lefale all return to the sevens roster from that event. Remarkably Hetaraka, Livani, Setu-Veve and Sotutu are all Year 12.
Lefale was the triumphant captain of the netball squad while Teuila Sotutu is the daughter of former Fijian rugby international Waisake Sotutu and Livani made the tournament team at the netball nationals.
Howick has a well-balanced team. The rest of the squad is as follows.
Year 13: Natalie Whittaker, Melenia Kaitaiefo, Jennifer-Rose Reu
Year 12: Isla Norman-Bell, Hinemoa Watene
Year 11: Saphire Abraham, Ceyan Drollet
Year 10: Dajian Brown, Tiana-Paige Wetere
Howick is grouped with Long Bay College, Rotorua Girls’ High School and Manukura. Rotorua won the Condor Under-15 National title last year and Manukura are the Manawatu and Hurricanes Youth Council champions so the opposition is stiff.
However, Howick has the size, speed and organisation, despite little time together, to be a genuine title contender.
57 players from the weight Provincial Unions representing the Hurricanes region have been selected to attend this year’s Hurricanes Regional U17 Coaching Camp at the home of the Hurricanes in Wellington, on Sunday December 11th, 2017.
The core rugby components of the one-day Camp are based on: the “Pathway Forward”; Nutrition; Mental Skills and Physical Conditioning, as part of providing an insight to the world of professional rugby. Included among the presenters for the day are Matt Sexton from New Zealand Rugby, Chris Stirling from the Hurricanes, together with other subject matter specialists in the areas noted above.
The players selected are as follows:
East Coast: William Martin.
Hawkes Bay: Jayden Walker, Jacob Ward, Julian Goerke, Emil Chrichton, Sam Henderson, Ngiyaani Walters, Angus Kilmister, Charlie Varcoe, Henry Williams, Tama Dunn, Andrew Hayward, Jordan Thompson-Dunn, Blaze Taylor, Jayden Stok, Connor Wadley.
Horowhenua-Kapiti: Louis Northcott, Taine Hata, Zane Ainslie, Henry Fonoti.
Manawatu: Joseph Gavigan, Javiah Wharerau, Mark Coogan, Te Kamaka (TK) Howden, Trevor-Shane Baker, Tamati Ruawai, Nikora Broughton, Potene Rolls-Paewai, Josh Maoate, William Treder, Toroa Rapana, Ruben Love.
Poverty Bay: Jordan McFarlane-Rofe, Dylan Hall, Campbell Hall, Braedyn Grant.
Wairarapa Bush: Thomas Rall, Logan Prendeville, Lucas Megaw.
Wanganui: Tyreece Adams, Ollie Tama, Sam Sherriff, Falesau Tauailoto, Logan Henry.
Wellington: Geordie Bean, Samson Alaimoana, Ridge Studd, Jeremiah Tuiatua, Scott Svenson, Roderick Solo, Ropati So'oalo, Esera Andrews, Ethan Webster-Nonu, Cassius Misa, Maui Wallace, Rocco Berry, Sage Shaw-Tate.
Congratulations to all those selected!
Republished with permission by Hurricanes Youth Rugby Council
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