- By Adam Julian and Steven White
Scots College have won the Wellington First XV Premiership for the second time, pipping St Patrick’s College, Silverstream 20-15 at Jerry Collins Stadium this afternoon.
The temperamental weather was a metaphor for the unpredictable nature of the match.
Silverstream leapt to a 10-0 lead before conceding three tries in the last 15 minutes of the first-half to trail 17-10 at the interval.
Despite relentless attack inside the Scots 22 for much of the second-half, Silverstream failed to defend their title.
The game kicked-off in heavy rain and Scots were forced into retreat early from smart Silverstream kicking. A horror pass by fullback Roderick Solo, inside his own 22, was pounced upon by the Silverstream cover defence and wing Reihana Dalton crossed in the corner.
Scots’ struggles to clear their territory continued and Silverstream lock and captain Akira Ieremia poached an intercept dashing 30-metres to finish.
Scots’ inability to find touch from penalties bordered on comical, but a miss-strike by Oryaan Kalolo worked in their favour when the ball bounced at halfway and was grabbed by centre Ethan Webster-Nonu who sprinted clear.
Solo refused to abort his ambitious approach and a dummy and break sparked a breakout and second try to Webster-Nonu, after good support play from wing Ayden Hammond and thrilling counter attack.
At this stage Scots were rampant and a quick tap by blindside Isaac Sailo caught Silverstream napping in the corner. The side-line conversion make it 17-10 at the break.
The second-half was dominated by whistle with Scots conceding 12 penalties.
The start of the second spell was even, with both sides probing for field position and points. After 10 minutes, Silverstream found themselves hot on attack and it was lock Ieremia who offloaded in a two-man tackle to flyhalf Riley Higgins who score the next try.
The conversion about 15 metres to the left of the poles was missed and Scots held on to a 17-15 lead with about 20 minutes to play.
In the 57th minute Scots were awarded a penalty, which was sent through the uprights by Kalolo and the top qualifiers from the regular season held a 20-15 lead.
There was to be no further scoring in the final, but not for a want of trying as Silverstream threw everything at Scots.
Silverstream won seven breakdown turnovers and loose forwards Toby Crosby, Jacob Beattie and Peter Laki were all exceptional along with young centre Tony Solomona.
But despite all of Silverstream’s endeavour and Scots’ ill-discipline in the contests for possession, their defence held.
For Scots hooker Sase Va’a, lock Maea Tema-Schmidt and No. 8 Sione Halalilo were full of industry and at the forefront of a committed unit that refused to yield as the match finished with two consecutive Silverstream scrums in prime position under their goalposts and with Silverstream’s vocal supporters at that end of the grandstand willing them on.
Scots won the ball back one last time and fulltime was sounded with the field quickly becoming a sea of red as the Strathmore school’s supporters enveloped the ground.
Next week both sides enter the Hurricanes qualifying series for the National Top Four. Silverstream will be forced to travel to Hastings Boys High School while Scots College will play Palmerston North Boys’ High School