The Hurricanes Regional First XV final this Saturday between Hastings Boys’ High School and St Patrick’s College, Silverstream in Palmerston North promises to be a mouth-watering prospect. It features two unbeaten teams who combined have scored nearly 2,000 points this season,
Such scoring prowess at Hastings was unfathomable three years ago when they were rooted at the bottom of the Super 8 standings. Fullback Danny Toala explains what’s changed.
“Commitment. As a team we decided to do one thing and that was rugby. Nobody plays other sports,” he explains.
The devotion to rugby has paid off. Hastings made the National Top Four final last year and have only lost once in their last 37 games. Silverstream is just another job.
“Silverstream is a good side. They have good forwards, a strong set-piece and are dangerous on the left side when attacking,” Toala says.
“They are a strong team and we are going to have to play well to beat them, but we are treating this like any other game,” he continued.
Hastings was recently held to a 12-12 draw against Hamilton Boys’ High School. Hastings have only kicked one penalty this year, but had several chances to kick for three in the Super 8 decider.
Has Hastings become complacent?
“I watched that game and thought afterwards we could have kicked some penalties, but I have no regrets. We back ourselves and make decisions based on the game rather than what everyone expects us to do,” Toala states.
Toala has scored 147 points this season, including 10 tries. His biggest haul in a single game is 29 against Tauranga Boys’ College. Toala wasn’t a goal-kicker two years ago.
“I started taking the kicks last year because we didn’t have a kicker. At first I was shocking. I got on a roll around the top four and enjoy it now,” Toala says.
Toala has had plenty of kicking practice. Winger Kini Naholo has scored 39 tries alone this season, including five last Saturday in their
“Kini is a freak. We give him the ball and sometimes we can just sit back and watch.” Toala marvels,
Last Saturday Naholo scored five tries in the 78-0 victory over Wellington College.
In 2018 Toala will train with the Hawke’s Bay Magpies and either study at Police College or EIT.
The Hastings Boys’ High School versus St. Patrick’s College, Silverstream Hurricanes Boys final this Saturday kicks off inside the Arena Manawatu Stadium at 2.40pm.
Outside the Stadium, the Hurricanes Girls Final kicks off at 11.30am on the #2 field and the Hurricanes Co-ed Cup decider gets underway at noon on the #3 ground.
last year’s national runners-up and Condor 7’s champions St Mary’s, Wellington match up against a new face at this level in local school Manukura in the Girls Final. St Mary’s have been idle since beating Aotea College 51-12 in the Wellington final two weeks ago after injuries prevented Feilding High from meeting last weekend’s fixture, while Manukura beat Aotea 20-17 at the same stage.
Last year’s National Champions Feilding High School have practically taken out a mortgage on the Hurricanes berth in recent years and will be favoured to do so again this year, with Porirua College that latest in a series of challengers from the capital looking to knock them off. Feilding saw off Wairarapa College 43-18 in Masterton, while Porirua went straight through after Wairoa College were unable to travel.
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