1st XV v Whanganui Collegiate School - Saturday 27 June
Saturday’s game saw the resumption of “hostilities” between two old school foes. First played 97 years ago, this was the 88th fixture between the two sides and the first since 2009. While the on field rivalry is new for this generation, many of our players whom had fathers and uncles who had played in this game were sent out the door with some fairly encouraging words ringing in the ears. Indeed for our co-captain of the day Tom Hansen, the last words from his father suggested the result dictated whether he would be welcomed back home after the game or not………
In what was a fairly still wintry day, both sides started nervously and traded early penalties. Both teams were tackling well and a kicking duel ensued as a means to gain territory. A well-executed scrum strike led to a try and we ended the first quarter in front and with set piece superiority. We then gifted the initiative back to Collegiate as they warmed to their work and started winning the shoulder battle. They scored two tries through soft defence and a lack of urgency, taking a 15-10 lead into oranges.
The second half showed much more intent with our play as we started to wrest the momentum back from the opposition with some direct running and more effective breakdown work. This was punching holes in the defence line and the resulting scrambling meant that we were generating time and space out wide. We scored two well-taken tries in the third quarter and held a seven point buffer heading into the final stanza. Collegiate had a few more opportunities, as did we, but both sides lacked the nous to finish. We did defend our line well with Collegiate spending a period inside our 22. On breakout we applied some more pressure in the last five minutes and scored a late try to extend our lead out to 27-15, the final score.
It was a great experience to play Whanganui Collegiate School and our thanks to Mr Bovey and Mr Brown, the respective heads of the schools, for working towards getting the game back on the fixture list.
Tries: Tavita Henare-Schuster, Feleti Sae Ta’ufo’ou, Tom Hansen and Sam Coles.
Penalty: Curtis Heaphy,
Conversions: Curtis Heaphy x 2