Wairarapa College has only been in the Premier One grade of Wellington First XV rugby for two years, but on Saturday they achieved a result that will be talked about for many more years.
Wairarapa College beat Scots College 7-3 in the quarter finals of the WelTec Premiership, eliminating last season's National runners-up from Top four contention.
Scots thrashed Wairarapa 38-7 in the round-robin, but Captain Lochie Macrae insists Wairarapa were hopeful of achieving victory especially when the weather turned sour.
"It wasn't a very good day so we figured early on it would be a low scoring game. We wanted to play in their half and try to stay with them. We broke the game down into 15 minutes blocks. Our first goal was to keep them scoreless in the first 15 minutes and we did that. Then we wanted to score or at least prevent them from scoring too heavily. It was 3-0 at halftime. We scored in the final 15 minutes and hung on," Macrae says.
Scots became rattled as the game went on. Errors piled up and Macrae could sense the belief of his team building.
"Every attack of theirs we foiled was like a small victory. They were pretty quiet and we were pumped. You could tell by their body language they were getting frustrated," Macrae recalls.
Wairarapa halfback Guy Percy was named Player of the Match. His tactical kicking was a big part of the visitors’ victory. Using the wind to great effect, a Percy kick helped create the only try of the match.
"We kicked into the Scots 22 and managed to force an error. From a five-metre scrum our first-five Jack Harley challenged the line and slipped through. It was a great try," Macrae enthuses.
Predictably Scots rallied and spent most of the final ten minutes anchored in the Wairarapa 22. Macrae provides an insight into Wairarapa's emotions.
"We were bloody nervous, but determined. Everybody was outstanding and dug deep. Our hooker Cullum Pritchardand No.8 Brad Griffins had huge games," Macrae reflects.
On his own performance he says, "I did my job I guess."
The last play of the game was a real compliment to the Wairarapa defence.
"Scots did a lot of pick and goes, but we shut them down. Their outside backs were dangerous so we tried to stop them from getting the ball. When they got the ball one of them put in a grubber kick which went dead and that was the last play," Macrae remembers.
A bus load of supporters from the Gladstone Rugby Club were in attendance. Needless to say the celebrations were memorable.
"It was unbelievable. The support was amazing. I just want to thank everybody who came down. It was a special afternoon," Macrae says.
Ironically Scots No.8 Jack Loader attended Wairarapa College and played in the local reps for many years with Macrae.
This Saturday Wairarapa tackles Wellington College in the semi-finals. Unbeaten Wellington tamed Wairarapa 22-0 in the round-robin, but last year Wairarapa beat Wellington.
"We hope we can do it again, but we will be the underdogs," Macrae concludes.
Photo Credit: Andy McArthur
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