An increase from 10 to 14 teams overall and a continuation of the hot sevens rugby seen at the same venue last weekend at the Condor Sevens, should make this Saturday’s second annual World Schools Sevens tournament a must-follow event.
Eight boys teams (up from six last year) and six girls sides (up from four) will battle it out over one day at Sacred Heart College to be crowned champions for 2017.
The tournament has a truly international feel to it, with teams from Australia (boys and girls), Canada (boys) and Japan (girls) entering, and invitational sides representing Tonga and Samoa (both boys and girls), and Fiji (boys).
Last year the Australians won the inaugural Boys tournament, beating the Samoan Barbarians 24-19 in the Cup final. The New Zealand Condors side settled for the Plate title with a 24-19 win over the Samoan Barbarians, so will be out for more.
Coached by Anare Koliavu, a former Northern United club teammate of the late All Black Jerry Collins and also a loose forward, the Australian team is sure to be slick and up for the challenge.
The New Zealand Boys Invitational squad is: 1 Scott Gregory (Northland Union), 2 Quade Tapsell (Gisborne Boys' High School), 3 TJ Ane (De La Salle Collge), 4 Leroy Carter (Tauranga Boys College), 5 Rico Symes (Christchurch Boys' High School), 6 Lemeki Namoa (Sacred Heart College), 7 Taufa Funaki Scots College), 9 Brad McNaughten (Hamilton Boys' High School), 10 Taniella Fillimone (Rotorua Boys'High School), 11 Lisiate Falou (Liston Collge), 12 Emoni Narawa (Hamilton Boys High School), 13 Jaylen Taupolo (Scots College), 14 Michael Loft (New Plymouth Boys'High School)
The New Zealand Condors team won the 2016 Girls tournament, beating the New Zealand Wasps invitational team 19-12 in the final.
The two New Zealand girls teams for the tournament are here: https://www.collegesportmedia.co.nz/rugby-union/new-zealand-u17-and-u18-schoolgirls-teams-selected-for-world-schools-tournament
The tournament is live on channel 51 from 12.30pm and College Sport Media will review the tournament.
Teams and Pools
The New Zealand U17 and U18 girls’ sevens teams have both been selected for the World School Sevens at Sacred Heart College in Auckland this coming weekend.
Players attended trials across the country in October after a nomination process was completed by secondary schools.
A total of 54 players were selected to be part of the wider training group and played in several regional sevens tournaments over the past eight weeks before the final squads were selected.
New Zealand Rugby’s Talent Development Sevens Manager Chad Tuoro said the selection process had been extensive.
“The nomination process allowed us to engage with non-rugby players from other sports who had the athletic attributes we were looking for.
“The teams assemble in Auckland today which is also the start of our preparation for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina next October. We will be aiming to qualify at the Oceania Qualifier in Sydney next April,” said Tuoro.
The New Zealand Under 17 and Under 18 teams will come up against opposition from Australia, Samoa, Japan and Tonga at this weekend’s World School Sevens tournament. SKY will be broadcasting on Sky Sport 1 from 12.30pm and College Sport Media will cover the tournament.
New Zealand U18 Girls Sevens
Amy du Plessis (Southland Girls' High School)
Aroranga Tauranga (Hamilton Girls' High School)
Carys Dallinger (Manukura)
Georgia Ponsonby (Feilding High School)
Grace Brooker (Christchurch Girls' High School)
Hannah Brough (Te Kuiti High School)
Isla Norman-Bell (Howick College)
Islay Fowler (University of Otago Rugby Club)
Ivamere Livani (Howick College)
Kororia Heyblom (Rangiuru Rugby Club)
Melanie Puckett (St Margaret's College)
Rina Paraone (University of Waikato Rugby Club)
Sydnee Wilkins (Motueka High School)
Utumalama Atonio (Rosehill College)
Unavailable for selection: Ora Williams (Rotoiti Rugby Club), Lyric Faleafaga (St Mary's College), Ainsleyanna Puletua (St Mary's College), Seria Murray-Wihongi (Whangarei Girl's High School)
New Zealand U 17 Girls Sevens
Azalleyah Maaka (Gisborne Girls' High School)
Dhys Falefaga (St Mary's College)
Iritana Hohaia (Opunake High School)
Isabella Carter (Rangi Ruru Girls' School)
Jazmin Hotham (Hamilton Girls' High School)
Kalyn Takitimu-Cook (Manukura School)
Mahina Alex Paul (St Kentigern College)
Montessa Tairakena (Hamilton Girls' High School)
Risaleaana Pouri-Lane (Motueka High School)
Tiana Davison (Sacred Heart Girls' College)
Tynealle Fitzgerald (Trident College)
Lonita Ngalu (Hamilton Girls' High School)
Lasalle Lefale (Howick College)
Brooke Neilson (New Plymouth Girls' High School)
NZ U18 Māori 7's team Named.
Congratulations to the following Boys on their selection into the NZ Māori U18's 7's squad to contest the International U18's Tournament on December 16th - 17th, in Auckland (Sacred Heart College).
NZ Māori U18 Sevens Squad 2017.
Arikitohia Hood-Kaitapu, Westlake Boys
Caleb Leef, Rangitoto College
Coel Kerr, Paeroa College
Connor Moors, Liston College
Dennis Koro, Kerikeri High
Donovan Mataira, Hastings Boys
James Te Paire, King High (Dn)
Johnny Cooper, Westlake Boys
Jordan Thompson, Hastings Boys
Judda Turahui, Kings College
Justice Hall, St Johns (Hn)
Keelan Whitman, St Pats Town (Wn)
Kingi Herewini, Rodney College
Liam Udy-Johns, Hastings Boys
Lukas Halls, Kings College
Matiu Samuel, Rongotai College
Revin TeTawhero Storey, One Tree Hill College
Robert Rush, St Kentigern College
Tahu Kaa, Christchurch Boys High
Valynce Crosby-Te Whare, St Paul Collegiate, (Hn)
In a repeat of 2015, Hamilton Boys’ High School and Hamilton Girls’ High School have won the
YouthTown Condor 7s titles. But the quality of the event has seen two tournament teams selected with players included from around the country. Congratulations to the following:
Condor 7’s Boys Tournament Team
Condor 7’s Girls Tournament Team
Amy du Plessis
In a repeat of 2015, Hamilton Boys’ High School and Hamilton Girls’ High School have won the
YouthTown Condor 7s titles.
Hamilton Girls’ beat Christchurch Girls’ High School 20-5 in the female decider. Jazmin
Hotham opened the scoring following a break down the left side. Lonita Ngalu stormed in for the
second, beating two players and dragging two more over the line.
The game threatened to turn Christchurch’s way when Martha Lolohea busted and was caught in
a high tackle resulting in a yellow card for Hamilton. Grace Brooker scored a try to close the gap
to 10-5, but when Ngalu busted again and Lena Mitchell, sporting a huge black eye, scored a try
to make it 15-5, Christchurch was consigned to defeat. Hotham iced the triumph with an 80-
Hamilton Boys’ joined Kelston Boys’ High School as the only college to win three championships in a row defeating Scots College 21-10. Hamilton burst to a 14-0 lead on the back of soft Scots defence. Caleb Muntz pushed through for the first try and Quinn Tupaea set up Tevita Fa’ukafa by barging past two would-be tacklers.
Scots were resurgent just before and shortly after the interval. An Eparama Sailo try reduced the
deficit to 14-5 and then Hamilton lost two players to the sin bin. However with 90 seconds
remaining Hamilton won a turnover and Tupaea showed his class by striding away for a critical
try. Scots captain Jayden Tuapola made the final score 21-10.
Hamilton thrashed Napier Boys’ High School, 41-5 in their semi-final. Liam Wilson scored two
of Hamilton’s seven tries in the rout. By contrast Scots required a last play try to Jack Gray to
foil Tauranga Boys’ College. Down 19-5 shortly after halftime, Cole Forbes and Leroy Carter
scored converted tries to draw Tauranga level before Gray grabbed his second and the winning
try, tapping quickly and catching Tauranga out of position.
Christchurch Girls’ eliminated defending champions St Mary’s College 17-0 in the semi-finals.
Stubborn defense and a wealth of first half possession were the key ingredients in Christchurch’s
success. Grace Brooker, Rosie Kelly and Nia Toaolamai-Holden scored tries for the southerners.
Hamilton Girls’ rallied from a 10-7 halftime deficit to foil Motueka High School 24-10. A near
length of the field try to Motukea captain Risaleaana Pouri-Lane pushed Motukea ahead at the
break. However the combination of Montessa Tairakena and Jazmin Hotham caught fire for
Hamilton each scoring tries in a hard earned victory.
Hamilton Boys’ suggested they were in ominous form from the outset overwhelming Kelston
Boys’ High School 35-0 in the quarterfinals. Emoni Narawa celebrated two tries. Scots showed
composure to hold off a fast finishing Timaru 22-17. Jack Gray netted two tries in this fixture.
The most noteworthy thing to happen in the girls quarter final was St Mary’s College losing their
best player Dhys Faleafaga to injury. Dhys had scored two tries in the narrow 17-10 victory
against Howick College.
Day one provided plenty of surprises with leading contenders Southland Girls’ High School,
Rotorua Boys’ High School, Feilding High School and Hastings Boys’ High School all crashing
out in pool play.
In a repeat of 2016, Tauranga Boys’ College eliminated National Top Four champions Hastings
with a 24-5 win in Pool C. Tauranga’s hustle at the breakdown frustrated Hastings who lost a
player for ill-discipline and never found their groove.Leroy Carter (2), Connor McLeod and Cole
Forbes scored tries for Tauranga.
Timaru ousted 2016 runners up Feilding High School, 28-14. Tevita Eukaliti scored two tries to
keep Timaru level at halftime. Ryan Greenslade burst 75-meters to give Timaru the lead and then
captain Cullen Grace bullied his way through three defenders to seal victory.
Rotorua Boys’ High School looked to be in control of their Pool D fixture against Napier Boys’
High School when leading 12-0 at halftime. However a careless yellow card early in the second
spell saw Rotorua surrender the lead with less than 90 seconds remaining. Restored to a full
complement, Byron Kennedy outflanked the defence to secure a 17-14 victory. However Rotorua
later stumbled against Francis Douglas Memorial College who Napier beat along with
Cambridge High School to earn a place in the Cup quarter finals.
New Plymouth Girls’ High School scored four unanswered tries in the second-half to stun
Southland Girls High School 38-12. A second try to Paige Neilson shortly after the break rocked
Southland and they never recovered. Paige’s sister Brooke also flourished scoring New
Plymouth’s first try with a 60-metre dash.
Hamilton Girls’ were rampant in their two Sky games scoring a 68-0 victory over Otahuhu
College and dishing out a 48-0 hiding of Bay of Islands College. Montessa Tairakena scored five
tries across the two games and 2016 MVP Jazmin Hotham bagged two tries in the latter
For full results and tournament teams click here: https://www.facebook.com/condorsevens
Kerikeri High School and Kelston Boys’ High School are the respective Under-15 YouthTown Condor 7s champions after a thrilling pair of finals in bright sunshine at Sacred Heart College in Auckland this afternoon.
Debuants Kerikeri High School pipped Hamilton Girls’ High School 21-20 in the female decider while Kelston Boys’ High School overcame a fast-finishing New Plymouth Boys’ High School 19-10 in the male finale.
In the last minute of the girls decider, Kerikeri was down 20-14 when Kerikeri Rangimaria Waiatarere received the ball on an angle 35-metres out from the line. She changed direction with searing speed and avoided the retreating defense to touch down under the sticks. The successful conversion propelled Kerikeri ahead by a solitary point, despite being outscored four tries to three.
Kerikeri only had to kick the ball out to terminate time, but failed to do so. Hamilton launched a desperate final attack, but after multiple phases lost the ball and Kerikeri celebrated widely.
Earlier there were two lead changes in a vibrant affair which turned in Hamilton’s favour shortly after halftime when they scored two unanswered tries. Chyann Kaitapu was exceptional for Hamilton scoring two tries. Captain Mia Anderson and Andrea Cotton scored the other tries for Kerikeri.
In the boys decider, New Plymouth Boys’ High School conceded the first try for the first time all tournament and then fell further behind when Kelston captain Naufahu Whyte made it 12-0 at the break.
New Plymouth gradually grew in stature and closed the gap to 12-10 by punishing Kelston mistakes. Mason Milham and Jone Rova scored tries for New Plymouth.
Soane Mapa Jr was always a threat for Kelston and when he soared into space for the last time, New Plymouth’s defense was unable to prevent him from scoring his second try and winning Kelton the title.
Kerikeri High School blanked Aorere College from Auckland 17-0. K-Lee Going was the hero for Kerikeri scoring all three tries. In a tough and messy tussle, Going skipped away for her first try after a quick tap following a high tackle penalty. Her double was completed on the stroke of halftime when she pounced on a loose ball and darted away. Later in the second-half good teamwork resulted in further solo glory. K-Lee’s uncle is the great All Black halfback Sid Going;.
Hamilton Girls’ High School thrashed Lytton High School 32-7. Lytton had the last laugh, but were resoundingly beaten by the National First XV top four runners up. Chyann Kaitapu scored three tries for Hamilton.
New Plymouth Boys’ eliminated Hamilton Boys’ 31-5 with a well organised and polished display. Mason Milham, Matua Robinson and Liam Wano all scored tries and impressed with their hustle, posie and skill for New Plymouth.
Kelston Boys ’overcame a spirited Westlake Boys’ High School 24-12. Kaleb Emile-Vagoa and Soane Mapa Jr each scored two tries as Kelston enjoyed superior individual flair.
The home crowd suffered early disappointment when Sacred Heart College was eliminated by Kelston. Sacred Heart started in a promising fashion by crossing for the first try. Kelston soon gained the ascendancy with their superior height and physicality telling. Kaleb Emile-Vagoa shoved aside two players and burst 65-metres for Kelston’s first try. Emile-Vagoa added another in the second spell, before Faith Kalekale bullied his way through to seal the hosts fate.
Manurewa were disappointingly inaccurate against Westlake, failing to score any points. A more committed and polished Westlake earned a whitewash victory. Chlayton Frans scored the winning try and Etienne Piere was robust defensively for Westlake.
Palmerston North Boys’ High School led Hamilton Boys’ 7-5 at halftime, but faded after the interval to lose heavily. Logan Love scored a converted try on the hooter to nudge the Manawatu visitors ahead. Hamilton pulled clear with three unanswered tries in the second-half. Westyn Cobb, Harry Russ, Noah Hotham and Dean Christensen crossed the chalk for Hamilton.
New Plymouth Boys’ survived a late rally to overcome St Peter’s College. New Plymouth raced ahead by posting the first three tries, but some individual brilliance by Ben Fuhiniu sparked a Catholic resurgence. Firstly Fuhiniu scored a 75-metre try gassing his marker on the outside and then he cross-kicked for Liam Wheeler to snaffle and score. Che Potaka eased New Plymouth nerves by breaching tired defense.
Boys’ Cup Quarter Final Scores:
Kelston Boys’ High School: 19 v Sacred Heart College: 12
Westlake Boys’ High School: 12 v Manurewa High School: 0
Hamilton Boys’ High School: 26 v Palmerston North Boys’ High School: 7
New Plymouth Boys’ High School: 20 v St Peter’s College, Auckland: 14
Boys Tournament Team
Brooke Robson (Westlake BHS)
Chicago Doyle (King’s College)
Piki Mihinui (King’s College)
Blake Makiri (Sacred Heart College) - MVP
AJ Falefaga (St Peter’s College, Auckland)
Terrance Graham (Feilding High School)
Asolelei Fretton (Kelston BHS)
Sione Tapuosi (Kelston BHS)
Jacob Te Huni (New Plymouth BHS)
Soane Mapa Jr (Kelston BHS)
Grady Walshe (Sacred Heart College)
Matua Robson (New Plymouth BHS)
Girls Tournament Team
Melvina Weilert (Aorere College)
Manaia Nuku (Hamilton GHS) - MVP
Keyani Leith (Hamilton GHS)
Shae Daley (Hamilton GHS)
Eva Fulton (Kerikeri HS)
Mia Anderson (Kerikeri HS)
Kelsey Teneti (Lytton HS)
Gaibriell Wainohu (Lytton HS)
Ruby Hutchieson (New Plymouth GHS)
Kylah Talamahina (Southland GHS)
Abby Lockhard (Howick College)
There will be new champions on Friday in both the boys and girls competitions at the Under-15 Youthtown Condor Sevens at Sacred Heart College in Auckland.
Both defending champions, Rotorua Boys’ High School and Rotorua Girls’ High School, were eliminated from the Cup in pool play on Day One.
Rotorua Boys’ won their first two matches against Feilding High School 12-10 and Kerikeri High School 24-10, but weren’t entirely polished in each effort. Rotorua’s initial victory against Feilding required an outstanding 75-metre solo try by Cassius Cowley to earn the cash.
By contrast hosts Sacred Heart played with greater aggression, precision and pace. In the deciding fixture in Pool A, Sacred Heart comprehensively accounted for Rotorua 22-0. Blake Makiri bagged a hat-trick for the hosts - scoring two individual tries from past halfway. The diminutive Sean Weir (with his searing turn of pace) and Gray Walshe (with his tigerish defense) were standouts for the Catholics.
Rotorua Girls’ were underwhelming losing two out of three games. In their first pool match Rotorua was upset 12-10 by Auckland’s One Tree Hill College. Milani Tuala-Taufoou and Poini Lutui scored tries for One Tree Hill.
Facing elimination, Rotorua had to topple Gisborne’s Lytton High School, but were overpowered 38-0. Gabriell Wainohu was outstanding throughout the day for Lytton. In the game prior against One Tree Hill she burst away for two tries from inside her own 22.
Manurewa High School beat Wesley College in a Counties local derby in Pool C which was telling in earning Manurewa a quarter final place. In a close and tough tussle, Liukhane De Thierry-Rhind,Koroi Ratusau and Tupou Langi scored tries for the victors.
Hamilton Boys’ and New Plymouth Boys’ looked particularly imposing. Hamilton achieved the only half century of the day while New Plymouth Boys’ was the only side not to concede a point. Otahuhu College was the only side not to score a point.
Hamilton Girls scored 123 points in three games which was the most of the 47 teams in both sexes competing.
U15s quarterfinals Friday:
Boys Cup Quarterfinals:
Sacred Heart College v Kelston Boys’ High School
Manurewa High School v Westlake Boys’ High School
New Plymouth Boys’ High School v St Peter’s Auckland
Hamilton Boys’ High School v Palmerston North Boys’ High School
Girls Cup Quarterfals:
Lytton High School v Southland Girls’ High School
Aorere College v One Tree Hill College
Hamilton Girls’ High School v New Plymouth Girls’ High School
Kerikeri High School v Howick College
Disclaimer: All names are based on numbers in the tournament program
The Youthtown Condor Sevens at Sacred Heart College, Auckland this weekend is a massive showcase of leading age group rugby talent in New Zealand. Who will claim the boys and girls open titles? The following individuals will be essential in the fortunes of their respective teams.
Chay Fihaki (Sacred Heart College) - An abrasive, goal-kicking halfback in the fifteen-a-side code, Fihaki is a Blues Under-18 rep and his quick distribution, size and creativity will be vital in the hosts giving a good account of themselves.
Luke Glen (St Bede’s College) - St Bede’s First XV had an awful year and an early season to Luke Glen didn’t help. A classy fullback with agile footwork, pace and vision, Glen is the captain of St Bede’s and his leadership and talent will be instrumental in the Southerners’ fortunes.
Kini Naholo (Hastings Boys’ High School) - It’s impossible to leave the giant NZ Schools wing of this list. Naholo was a sensation in the fifteen-a-side game this year scoring 41 tries, including seven hat-tricks. Naholo has flourished for Hastings in the summer, vital in their Hurricanes and Napier Sevens victories to.
Hayze Perham (Rotorua Boys’ High School) - Rotorua underwhelmed in the Bay of Plenty qualifiers finishing third, but they have been perennial contenders at the Youthtown Nationals in recent seasons making the top four every year since 2013 and winning the title in 2014. Hayze Perham is a National age group rugby and league rep with searing speed, smarts and experience. If Rotorua are going to threaten the top four again, Perham simply has to fire.
Johnny Sanft (Botany Downs) - Botany Downs First XV won 13 games on the trot to win the 1B title for the first time in their history in 2017. Imposing midfield back Sanft was an integral part of their success. Powerful and pacey with ball in hand, Sanft is also a devastating defender.
Jaylen Tuapola (Scots College) - The Hurricanes Under-18 rep was the leading try scorer in the WelTec Premiership in 2017 and has been in impressive form in sevens. Tuapola scored the winning try in the Wellington qualifying final in October and is the captain of Scots with his management and creative flair an obvious feature of Scots play.
Raiki Willison (Hamilton Boys’ High School) - The cousin of Maori All Black Jackson Willison, Raiki missed the First XV season after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. The New Zealand age group touch rep is back to full fitness and his speed and elusiveness shapes as a key part of Hamilton’s title defense. Willison was extremely unlucky not to be named on the Condor’s tournament team last year.
Emma Brown (St Mary’s College) - As well as sparkling attacking play, big defence will also be key to winning the Condors Sevens tournament. Much of St Mary’s College’s recent success has been built on their powerful defensive screen and Emma Brown is at the forefront of that. Much of the work she does allows others such as Ana Puleiata, Cheyne Copeland and Dhys Faleafaga to shine on the counterattack.
Carys Dallinger (Manukura) - Manukura loom as a dark horse contender at this year’s Condor Sevens and the former Feilding HS utility back Carys Dallinger could impress along the way. Helped win the recent Hurricanes Youth Council Sevens tournament for Manukura and a new member of the Manawatu Women’s Sevens squad.
Amy Du Plessis (Southland Girls’ High School) - Two tries for Southland GHS in their 2016 Top 4 final win, impressing again in this year’s fifteens nationals at first five-eighth given fewer opportunities. Also a netball and touch player, captain Du Plessis is dangerous in space and a potential catalyst for her side to go deep in this year’s Condors.
Rosie Kelly (Christchurch Girls’ High School) – Look out for CGHS to surprise. Along with Grace Brooker, Rosie Kelly is coming off a Women’s NPC title win with Canterbury. Understudy to Kendra Cocksedge, the halfback has been learning off the best and should be full of confidence. Captain and goal-kicker of her school’s 15s team and a Canterbury women’s sevens player at the start of this year.
Iva Livani (Howick College) – Two years ago Howick College won the U15 Condors and Iva Livani was Player of the Tournament. Last year they made the quarter-finals of the senior tournament and will be hoping to go one better. Year 12 player Livani’s dash and enterprise could prove hot to handle for opposing sides.
Montessa Tairakena (Hamilton Girls’ High School) - Hard running midfield back in fifteens rugby, Montessa Tairakena has the vision and creativity to trouble most opposition on the sevens field. Look out for her combination with teammates such as 2016 MVP Jazmin Hotham and Kiriana Nolan as last year’s runners-up look to go one better in 2017.
Tynelle Fitzgerald (Trident High School) – Key player for the Bay of Plenty Condors champions, debuting at this tournament at this venue. Trident will look to their BoP Women’s squad member to add spark and hope to spring a day one surprise on defending champions St Mary’s College.
Plus six of seven players in our 2017 Champion of Champions Girls Rugby will be at Condors this weekend (not included above). View the list here
The final act of the 2017 College rugby year will be played out this weekend, with the Youthtown Condor Sevens, being hosted again by Auckland’s Sacred Heart College. If its speedsters, steppers, and heavy hitters you’re looking for, that’ll be the place to find them.
32 Boys teams from across the country will line up, while the Girls field has again been expanded slightly to 24 teams. With the Under 15 tournament that precedes it now a two day event in its own right and containing 32 Boys (again including a team from the Cook Islands) and 16 Girls teams as well, over 100 teams and about 1200 players will be on the field over the four days.
The first question in the Boys field is can anyone stop Hamilton Boys’ High School making it a three-peat, having won the last title played at Kelston and the first at Sacred Heart. The obvious challenger to their crown is the school that beat them in the National XV’s final – Hastings Boys’ High School – who will be themselves looking to atone for last year’s disappointment where they failed to top their pool on day one and didn’t even progress through to the Cup rounds.
The rest of the field you could throw a blanket over with no shortage of teams that will fancy their own chances. Feilding High School were runners-up last year but might find things more difficult without someone of the caliber of Vilimoni Koroi in their ranks this time, Kelston Boys put a disappointing 1A XV’s season behind them to win the Auckland qualifier, while hosts Sacred Heart and Liston and Aorere Colleges are also threats from the big city.
From further afield Bay of Plenty trio Tauranga Boys, Rotorua Boys, and Western Heights could loom as threats, along with Wellington winners Scots College who return after failing to qualify for the past two nationals. The South Island is represented by a quintet of teams - Moascar Cup holders Nelson College, UC runners-up Timaru Boys, St Bede’s, St Peter’s Gore, and Kings High - that will look to upsets the odds and join the now-defunct Aranui High as the only mainland winners of the title.
The 32-team format is unforgiving, as –as Hastings Boys found out last year – there’s no real second chance if a team drops a game in pool play as time and the limited number of fields seemingly preclude a series of crossover playoffs.
The girl’s field is headlined by the four schools that made it through to the Top Four earlier in the year. Wellington’s St Mary’s won that and are defending champions here so wear the favourites tag, but Hamilton Girls – runners up both times – will be looking to finally get one over the side from the capital. Southland Girls and Auckland’s Southern Cross were the other top four schools and each have the sort of talent that puts the title within reach.
Other sides that bear watching however include Christchurch Girls who include Canterbury women’s rep Grace Brooker in their squad, along with another South Island team in Motueka High, while other sides to keep an eye on are Helensville’s Kaipara College, Auckland’s Howick College and Trident High from Whakatane, while a dark house could be Manawatu’s Manukura school who pushed St Mary’s in their Hurricanes XV’s final back in August.
The Girls format isn’t quite as ruthless as the Boys as two teams that finish second in their pool will also make it through to the Cup rounds. That however would seem to be leaving things to chance, and topping the pool remains the only way to assure passage to the top eight for day two.
Senior Tournament Pools:
Pool A – Hamilton Boys (Wkt), Massey HS (NH), Wesley College (C-M), Te Puke HS (BoP)
Pool B – Feilding HS (Man), Timaru Boys (SthCan), Manurewa HS (C-M), Western Heights HS (BoP)
Pool C – Tauranga BC (BoP), Hastings BHS (HB), Botany College (Akl), St Peters, Gore (Sth)
Pool D – Rotorua BHS (BoP), Francis Douglas (Tar), Napier BHS (HB), Cambridge HS (Wkt)
Pool E – Sacred Heart, Auckland (Akl), Kerikeri HS (Nth), St Bedes (Can), Kings HS (Ota)
Pool F – Liston College (Akl), Aorere College (Akl), Alfriston College (Akl), New Plymouth BHS (Tar)
Pool G – Scots College (Wel), Nelson College (Tas), Rangitoto College (NH), Otahuhu College (Akl)
Pool H – Kelston BHS (Akl), Rongotai College (Wel), Pakuranga College (Akl), Thames HS (TV)
Pool I – St Mary’s (Wel), Trident HS (BoP), Mt Roskill Grammar (Akl), Sacred Heart, NP (Tar)
Pool J – Hamilton GHS (Wkt), Bay of Islands College (Nth), Otahuhu College (Akl), Aotea College (Wel)
Pool K – Southland GHS (Sth), New Plymouth GHS (Tar), Mt Albert Grammar (Akl), St Margaret’s (Can)
Pool L – Motueka HS (Tas), Southern Cross (Akl), Cambridge HS (Wkt), Manurewa HS (C-M)
Pool M – Howick College (Akl), Manukura (Man), Rotorua GHS (BoP), Long Bay College (NH)
Pool N – Christchurch GHS (Can), Aorere College (Akl), Gisborne GHS (PB), Kaipara College (NH)
There are a number of schools that, despite having qualified, aren’t at the Condors with the travel and accommodation costs and the clash of dates with the Athletics nationals the main factors. That group includes boy’s qualifiers Mt Albert Grammar, Westlake Boys, Gisborne Boys, Whangarei Boys, and Wanganui Collegiate, along with, surprisingly, perennial contenders Feilding High in the girls.
Pool play starts at 9.30am on Saturday with the last games at 4.30pm. The Girls Cup final is at 4pm on Sunday, with the Boys Cup final following immediately afterwards.
Some more outstanding female rugby this year – and it continues next weekend with the Condor Sevens tournament in Auckland.
Grace Brooker (Christchurch Girls’ High School) - In July Grace Brooker was selected as one of four schoolgirls and two from her school (with Rosie Kelly) in Canterbury’s Women’s NPC squad. She scored two tries on debut against Manawatu and also bagged a brace in the semi-final win over Waikato and played in the 13-7 Farah Palmer Cup final win over Counties Manukau, as part of six appearances on the left wing and fullback. Already in the Canterbury Sevens team, deputy head prefect Brooker was a key member in CGHS’s UC Cup Crusaders schools win this year, playing as an openside flanker and was Women’s Player of the Year for her High School Old Boys club team.
Dhys and Lyric Faleafaga (St Mary’s College) - The two SMC sisters recognised together here in this list. Captain Dhys was the standout girls player at the 15s national Top 4 tournament in September, while at the start of this year Lyric was offered a Black Ferns Sevens training contract and recently won the College Sport Wellington girls rugby Player of the Year award. In April, Lyric travelled to Japan with the full Black Ferns sevens squad. She subsequently missed much of the 15s season with a shoulder injury, which has since been operated on and she is currently rehabbing. Dhys carried the family name in to the Top 4 tournament, where the loose forward-turned midfielder played two inspiration games against Southern Cross Campus and Hamilton Girls’ High School respectively to lift the Hine Pounamu Trophy for the first time. Dhys went on to make three appearances for the Wellington Pride in the Women’s NPC.
Renee Holmes (Gisborne Girls’ High School) – Gisborne’s Renee Holmes played in each of Hawke’s Bay’s opening three Women’s NPC matches this year and was named as her side’s most valuable player in two of them, going on to play five times in her first domestic season. With pace, strength and a strong kicking game in her armoury and the ability to play multiple backline positions, comparisons have been made to Charlie Ngatai (also out of Gisborne) as a female equivalent. Making the regular commute south to train and play, Renee was the Hastings Rugby & Sport club's women’s season MVP and the team’s top points scorer. Captained her GGHS team to victory in the Hawke’s Bay Secondary Schools competition, scoring a try and kicking two conversions in the final 19-15 win over Hastings GHS. Multi-talented Renee is a former National League footballer and is a NZ U20 Ultimate player.
Jazmin Hotham (Hamilton Girls’ High School) - The Year 12 student hit 2017 in hot form having won the MVP of the Condor Sevens in December of the previous year. The Hamilton Girls First XV had another top season finishing runners-up to St Mary’s College at the National Top Four in Palmerston North. Hamilton outscored all opponents 713-44. Hotham scored a 90-metre try on the stroke of halftime in the National Top Four semi-final against defending champions Southland Girls’ High School which changed the course of the game. Hotham typically plays in the midfield, but has the pace of a winger.
Georgia Ponsonby (Feilding High School) – Debut season for Manawatu this year in the Women’s NPC with a series of industrious performances off the back of the scrum for the Cyclones, alongside another schoolgirl regular Jessica Fagan-Pease (Palmerston North GHS) at lock. Georgia made a winning debut against Wellington and went on to play six matches. Captain of the Feilding High School team, Ponsonby is just at home in sevens rugby and is in her second year in the Manawatu women’s sevens squad that were beaten national finalists in January. Feilding are not heading to next week’s Condors but both Georgia and Jessica will be attending the development camp in Auckland in mid-December to prepare for the second annual World School Sevens tournament. Georgia has been a boarder at Feilding HS, with her family currently farming half an hour out of Taihape.
Risi Pouri-Lane (Motueka High School) - A key player in the well-performing Motueka High School team, Risi Pouri-Lane travelled to Japan earlier this year with the Black Ferns Development sevens team. Previously, the diminutive danger-woman was a star in the Tasman representative women’s sevens team at the National tournament in Rotorua in January. She plays first five-eighth in 15s rugby and played four matches in this year’s Farah Palmer Cup for them, scoring a try and landing four kicks in her final appearance of the year against Hawke’s Bay. Has already represented New Zealand in both judo and touch and has competed nationally in athletics.
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 2017. Got a story? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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