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Wild Lower Hutt weather leaves tourists with contrasting experiences as Wellington College finish third at Quad

  • By Adam Julian and Steven White

A round up of mid-week rugby this Wednesday.

Francis Douglas Memorial College: 72 v St Bernard’s College: 12

St Bernard’s College have been humbled by visiting New Plymouth outfit, Francis Douglas Memorial College (FDMC) in their annual traditional fixture in Lower Hutt this afternoon.

The hosts were major underdogs against the top four Central North Island side, who beat the always formidable Wesley College 25-24 on their home field earlier in the season.

Despite the form book, St Bernard’s made a rousing start when wing Caleb Pahi snatched an intercept from halfway and touched down under the posts to make it 7-0.

FDMC responded swiftly, but St Bernard’s stretched the lead when openside Jono Little thrust past two defenders and outpaced the cover to the corner. Little was full of vigour throughout for St Bernard’s.

Unfortunately Little’s flourish was as good as it got for St Bernard’s. FDMC took control of the set-pieces, utilized their size in midfield, and went to halftime 31-12 ahead.

The visitors were even more clinical in the second-spell and finished with ten tries and six conversions overall.

Wing Liam Matthews profited with a hat-trick while first-five Jacob Kneepkens was responsible for a number of assists with his slick passing and footwork. Kneeokens finished with a personal haul of 20 points (2 tries, 5 conversions).

FDMC boasted a fine pair of locks with Abraham Mataitini scoring a cracking 30-meter solo try.

TK Wanoa (lock) and Jacob Smith (No.8) were other standouts for St Bernard’s.

Wellington College: 18 v Christ’s College: 18

Wellington College finished third at the 93rd Quadrangular Rugby Tournament, that they hosted this Monday and Wednesday.

After losing to Whanganui Collegiate 5-32 on Monday, Wellington College recovered somewhat to draw 18-18 with Christ’s College in the playoff for third and fourth on Wednesday.

In fact, Wellington College could count themselves unfortunate not to have beaten Christ’s after scoring what appeared to be the winning try with a few minutes on the clock, only for Christ’s to slot a match-equalising penalty to see them finish all square.

In windy conditions and with lashings of rain arriving after halftime, Christ’s went ahead early with a forwards try.

Christ’s would go up 15-3 when halfback Max Goulter scored off a 5-m scrum.

Wellington College rallied and their reward was a try to blindside flanker Oscar Quin. The conversion made it 15-10 at the turnaround.

Wellington flyhalf Jacob Waikiri-Jones closed the gap to 15-13 with a penalty, as his forwards dug deeper and pushed Christ’s close several times. Christ’s gave away several penalties and eventually had a man sent to the sin-bin. In his absence, Wellington came up with what appeared to be the winning try to hooker Chris Bramley.

But Christ’s had one final raid up into opposition territory and second five-eighth Shun Miyake kicked a penalty to level it up to 18-18.

On Monday, Whanganui Collegiate defeated Wellington College for the first time since 1996; earning their biggest win against the hosts since 1927 with a sometimes impressive, often dogged display. Whanganui effectively won the game in the first 10 minutes leaping to a 15-0 lead.

No.8 Flynn Crampton did close the gap to 15-5 at halftime, but Whanganui was successful in foiling most of Wellington’s attack, despite losing a player to the sin bin.

Wellington v Wellington?

A Wellington XV was scheduled to play a Tasman selection today in a NPC pre-season fixture, but the visitors’ plane was grounded in Nelson and they were unable to make the trip. The Wellington squad assembled and started a game among themselves.

In driving rain and fierce gusts, roughly half an hour was played before this game was called off. Tragically MSP flanker Tom Horan was badly injured in a tackle and required an ambulance to be escorted from the field. He was left prone in the cold for over 20 minutes as he was assisted from the ground in considerable distress.

The game itself taught the selectors little, though it was a good afternoon out for Hutt Old Boys Marist wing Fereti Soloa who scored three tries – two from long range. What’s more Soloa could have bagged five tries if he wasn’t rundown by the cover defence in another long range breakout and didn’t drop the ball from an attempted intercept.

The fixture was officiated by Nick Hogan and Club Rugby wishes Horan a safe recovery from what was later learned to be a season ending injury. Horan broke a leg and both bones in his shin.

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