The New Zealand Secondary Schools extended their unbeaten run to 16 games in a row, but St Peter’s College, Auckland and the New Zealand Maori Under-18 teams produced huge upsets in their respective campaigns in another big year for rugby.
Our contenders are below for our third annual Champion of Champions series – vote in the poll - scroll down below.
Iona Apineru (St Patrick’s College, Silverstream) - The head prefect of St Pats Silverstream showed his leadership on the rugby field throughout 2018 helping Silverstream successfully defend their Premiership title and extend their unbeaten record in the local competition to 22 successive games. Apineru, a robust flanker, scored a vital try in the final and then earned selection for the New Zealand Schools’ where he was the vice-captain in the 26-12 win over Australia in Brisbane.
Louie Chapman (Christchurch Boys’ High School) - The diminutive halfback led Christchurch Boys’ High School to the National Top Four for the first time since 2014, passing 50 games for the First XV and impressing with his superior leadership. Christchurch defended the UC Championship and won the Moascar Cup for the first time since 2007. Chapman was selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ team. Chapman was also a member of the Christchurch BHS First XI cricket team that won the national title.
Niko Jones (St Peter’s College) - The son of All Black great Sir Michael Jones showed dad’s talent runs in the family with a stellar 2018. Jones was captain of the First XV which won five knockout games in a row by a combined margin of eight points to capture the Auckland 1A and National Top Four titles. In the National final, St Peter’s was down by 0-21, but Niko set up two tries and scored one himself in a man of the match display. Jones was selected for the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ tour of Australia starting in the annual test against the Junior Wallabies, his kick creating the Kiwis second try.
Blair Murray (New Plymouth Boys’ High School) - The fleet-footed fullback suffered injury in the early part of the season, strongly returning at the Chiefs Under-18 trial to earn a place in the New Zealand Secondary Schools team. While in Australia, Murray was a standout player scoring two tries against the Australian Barbarians and then winning the Bronze Boot award as the best player in the annual Australian test match.
Terrell Peita (Mount Albert Grammar School) - The No.8 from the Te Rarawa Kaiwhare tribe was a standout in an otherwise disappointing MAGS First XV in 2018. MAGS only won three games in 1A, but Peita was so highly respected he was selected to captain the New Zealand Under-18 Maori team who stunned the Barbarians Schools in October and then toppled Fiji in a campaign that achieved well above initial expectations.
Who would be your Boys First XV Player of the Year? Vote in the poll below.
2017: Rivez Reihana (Saint Kentigern College)
2016: Brayden Iose (Palmerston North BHS)
2015: Josh Buchan (Otago Boys’ High School)
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 2018. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
College Sport Media is dedicated to telling the story of successful young sportspeople in New Zealand