“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
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