"We were positive in the lead up, you have to be, but if I am being honest St. Bede's is a daunting game and I wasn't sure we could win it, " Liam Robinson captain of the Lincoln High School First XV concedes.
Round One of the UC Championship on Saturday produced a genuine boil over when Lincoln toppled perennial contenders St. Bede's College, 15-10.
For the past two years Lincoln hasn't even had a second XV while St. Bede's have won the competition four times and posted a century against Lincoln less than five years ago.
"It was a tight game all day. There were hardly any holes or breaks in the defense. I got the impression they thought they would run over the top of us and when that didn't happen they got pretty frustrated." Robinson explains.
Lincoln started encouragingly and centre Brett Gillan kicked a 45-meter penalty to put the hosts into the lead.
St. Bede's soon warmed to their work and scored a try. For much of the first half, St. Bede's anchored themselves inside the Lincoln 22. Robinson recalls what happened prior to halftime.
"St. Bede's kept it tight, despite lots of overlaps. We got a couple of turnover penalties and then Gillan scored a try. That made it 10-5 and we got on a bit of a roll."
Lincoln fullback Bradley Morgan beat the St. Bede's fullback one on one to expand the lead to 15-5 early in the second-spell.
Predictably St. Bede's rallied and another try pegged the deficit back to five points. Lincoln refused to yield however and they foiled repeated barrages on their goal line. The game ended close to the Lincoln posts.
"We were absolutely stocked. It was a huge team effort. I hate to single anybody out, but our openside Ben Kahu and our Year 11 centre Wil Gualter who looked after their big centre were huge for us." Robinson acclaims.
Robinson describes himself as a "fairly typical hooker." He is mobile and enjoys "the tough stuff."
Robinson has won two under-18 club championships with Waihora, the old home of All Black James Ryan. Many of Lincoln's leading players are forced to play in club competitions because of the lack of teams at the college.
"Beating St. Bede's is as good as winning any club final." Robinson enthuses.
Despite a shortage of numbers, Robinson believes the culture of rugby at the school is better than ever.
"We have a new coach Michael Wilson who coached the Ellesmere seniors last year. He has installed better patterns and more belief." Robinson praises.
This Saturday Lincoln hosts Nelson College who surprisingly held the Moascar Cup against Christ's College on Saturday. Christ's were top of the UC Round Robin in 2016 while Nelson missed the semi-finals.
In the Moascar Cup match Leicester Faingaanuku scored 17 points two tries, two conversions and a penalty as Nelson won 22-21. Ben Hazlett scored Nelson's other try. For Christ's Isaiah Punivai, Lachie Gunsen and Kaveni Balenacagi scored tries and Ben Dickie (2) and Shun Miyake kicked conversions.
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