Are Christchurch Boys’ the team to beat in the South Island?
Christchurch Boys’ High School are the new holders of the Trustbank Cup after defeating Otago Boys’ High School in their 102nd annual traditional fixture at Linfield Park.
In bright, sunny conditions the home team prevailed 26-23 to capture the Ranfurly Shield of South Island secondary schools rugby for the first time since 2014.
Converted tries five minutes either side of halftime was the telling difference in a compelling and high quality affair.
Down 5-11, Christchurch went to the interval one ahead when Louie Chapman touched down under the sticks following a short side bust and classy black-flip pass by Ollie Lewis.
Christchurch stretched their advantage further when Lewis dummied and muscled over from close range.
The Christchurch forwards struck a purple patch and bustling prop Ben Lopas slammed the ball down under the black dot to make it 26-11 after 50 minutes.
Initially Otago started brightly and almost scored in the opening minute when Josiah Lesa lunged for the corner, but was tackled out by Cullen Moody.
Otago wouldn’t have to wait long to break the stalemate though. Harry Hansen barged through to make it 5-0 in the fourth minute. The conversion attempt of Isaak Tehiwi hit the post and rebounded wide.
Considerably smaller, Christchurch played expansively and often with tremendous speed, skill and ambition. Turnovers from isolation were more frequent than desired, but with risk comes reward.
Clean breaks from Cullen, Chapman and Lewis netted no profit, but a quick tap from a penalty by Chapman caught the visitors napping and Kaa registered Christchurch’s first try.
Tehiwi was successful with two penalties beyond 30-metres, but two piercing runs from Reuben Wairau yielded no reward as the momentum turned in favour of the UC Champions.
Down 26-11, Otago’s bench added some punch and Lesa was able to close the gap to ten points with as many minutes to play.
Christchurch’s defense generally held firm as Otago finished much the stronger. An intercept try from halfway by Lesa was the final play.
Chapman recently celebrated 50 matches for the First XV and illustrated why he was a New Zealand Barbarians selection in 2017. His all around display was imperious. Lopas, Mitch Hay and Corban Harding were tireless and effective forwards.
Otago's best were Hansen, Taylor Dale, Jesse Vaafusuaga and Wairau.
Christchurch is celebrating its first win against Otago in the traditional since a 34-10 triumph in Dunedin in 2013. Overall Christchurch has won 54 times, Otago 46 with two draws in 1974 (7-7) and 1947 (13-13). A remarkable 39 contests have been decided by seven points or less.
Meanwhile on Monday, Nelson College retained the Moascar Cup for the 14th time with a 27-3 win over Shirley Boys’ High School. Nelson hosts St Thomas of Canterbury College in another defense on Saturday and if successful will have to topple Christchurch Boys’ High School on July 28 to keep the coveted trophy for the summer. Christchurch holds the record for most defences of the Moascar Cup with 22.
Otago are unbeaten in their local First XV competition having won the top of the table clash against John McGlashan College 25-10 on Saturday to briefly reclaim the Trustbank Cup.
Christchurch BHS (1-21): Ben Lopas, Henry Craw, George Roysmith, Sam Taylor, Harri Langworthy, Mitch Hay, Thomas Schmack, Corban Harding, Louie Chapman, Cullen Moody, Brigham Riwai-Couch, Ollie Lewis, Tahu Kaa, Yoji Yabe, Max Hughes, Clayden Paranihi, Tom Woelders, Austin Hewitt, Rusi Samuelu, Taine Lanyon
Otago BHS (1-22): Marika Parker, Harry Hansen, Tevita Pole, Oliver Haig, Taylor Dale, Nick Washington, Jesse Vaafusuaga, Oliver Griffin, James Arscott, Tevita Asi, Josiah Lesa, Reuben Wairau, Jake Tehiwi, Max Brown, Isaak Tehiwi, Hillary Takau, Zhaviar Wollet, Levi Turoa, Zion Niha, Michael Manson, Tylar Diack.
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