1st XV Rugby v Wellington College – Saturday 18 July
For the first time in many years, the PNBHS and Wellington College 1st XV’s played a match on a home ground. These fixtures in recent years have been a part of the Hurricanes Pre-season Festival and thus have been regional in terms of where they have been played. However with COVID-19 and the cancellation of that tournament, the opportunity arose to host Wellington College and both teams were eager to continue their traditional rivalry.
Played on a fairly spongy field, the home side showed the benefits of a recent three-day camp as we went about our work from the outset. There was increased accuracy and positive intent in what we were doing, up on the levels that had been present in recent outings. The game drivers kept the team in the right parts of the field and the forwards enjoyed an extended periods of dominance both in the set piece and in general play. This led to three quick tries as the speed of the game, despite the conditions, proved to be too much too handle for the Wellington team. As has been the case however, a momentary lapse on concentration handed momentum back to the visitors and they had a real crack at our line for a sustained period of time. Our defence proved to be up to the task as we absorbed the pressure then returned fire with two more tries prior to halftime.
The halftime score was 31-0, reflecting an effective use of the wind. The messages at oranges was around the need to keep to the game plan and keep the physicality going in the collisions.
The second half saw the possession stakes relatively even, the difference being the manner in which we were using ours and our defensive line being fairly stingy. The bench added some great impact as the legs grew weary in the heavy conditions and there was no drop off in intensity. Four more tries were scored - two late – and we held the opposition out. Final score was 57-0.
The decision making, ball movement and skill levels on display were the reward of hard work on and off the field. As the team becomes more accustomed to playing with each other and more confident in their execution of the game plan, there is some really positive rugby being played. However with the start of the Super Eight competition and the National Champions Hastings Boys’ High School coming over the ranges in six days time, we know that there are tough tests to come and will need to prepare accordingly
Tries: Jack Trotter x 2, Tavita Henare-Schuster x 2, Feleti Sae-Ta’ofo’ou, Tom Hansen, Curtis Heaphy, Jared Sellwood and Maraki Aumua
Conversions: Curtis Heaphy x 3, Logan Love x 3