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St Pat’s Town too strong for Wellington College in traditional

  • By Adam Julian and Steven White

St Pat’s Town has retained the Centennial Shield for a third consecutive year defeating Wellington College 39-19 in the 135th annual traditional fixture.

With a one-man advantage, and only down 20-14 at halftime, Wellington had a real chance to reverse the ascendancy. Instead, two poor clearances cost two tries as Town deservedly pulled clear.

Diminutive Year 11 fullback Francis Mettrick was at the heart of both strikes, both occurring from kicks taken on the full and with pace in space.

Wing Sapati Tagoai collected the first gift just outside his own 22, weaving and dashing clear before setting up Mettrick to his left who slipped the fullback.

Moments later it was Mettrick who turned provider, even bumping off a tackler, before putting workhorse flanker Jordan Chapman away. Two conversions by Christian Stenhouse blew the score out to 34-14.

Prior to the break Town lost prop Salesa Semanufagi to the sinbin, so both these telling tries were achieved a man down.

Town also had the chance to put Wellington College away before halftime. Leading 20-11, a break out by the visitors up the St Mark’s School side of the field was just thwarted, and then St Pat’s had a crack from a subsequent 5-metre scrum but couldn’t make hay.

Instead Wellington College got down the other end, Semanufagi was sinbinned and their third penalty sailed through the posts giving them hope turning with the breeze in their favour. Hope that was quickly snuffed out with the back-to-back tries to Mettrick and Chapman.

Earlier, the match started in spectacular fashion when powerhouse prop Siale Lauaki bullied through congestion to open Town’s account after two minutes.

Wellington responded from the restart when a Stenhouse kick was charged down by lock Bryn Jones. Openside George Murray was first to the loose ball, a habit that would repeat itself in a stellar effort.

Due to injury, Town was forced to play prop Bradley Crichton at lock which was of benefit for Town. With a half a dozen effective carriers, often raiding the blindside, Wellington’s defence was frequently punctured.

Genuine lock Xavier Bell scored the second try using his reach in a tight space to finish after another blindside assault.

Town’s discipline around the breakdown was indifferent and two penalties by Jacob Waikari-Jones kept the hosts in touch, but the ease of halfback Jermaine Collins try was vindication for Town’s direct attacking approach.

At 34-14 both schools emptied the bench as the last 20 minutes was largely uneventful. Town won at least two tightheads and three penalties from the scrum. The entire starting pack deserves acclaim for their effort, though concentration lapses remain a concern.

Rory Tapsell returned at blindside for Wellington and battled gamely. Bailee Laursen-Tupai tackled bravely and halfback George Sims shows obvious leadership qualities.

Town have the traditional 47 times. Wellington has 80 wins with eight draws. Town will stay inside the top four of the Premiership with Wellington retreating down the table.

On the top field, St Pat’s Town beat Wellington College 4-2 in the First XI Football.

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Meanwhile in another traditional result of interest today, New Plymouth Boys’ High School defeated Palmerston North Boys’ High School 23-10.

For First XV Draws & Results go HERE 

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