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Silverstream beat Rongotai, Wellington College miss out at Quad, St Mary’s win title

  • By Adam Julian and Steven White

Updated: St Mary’s College have won the Wellington Premier 1 Schoolgirls title, beating a combined Wainuiomata High School/Sacred Heart College team 24-5 in the final at Porirua Park this evening. St Mary’s led 7-0 at halftime.

St Patrick’s College, Silverstream have retained the Old Boys Cup with a 27-3 victory against a gritty Rongotai College on a heavy field in Upper Hutt this afternoon, while Wellington College missed out to host school Whanganui Collegiate 15-13 in their third versus fourth Quadrangular Tournament fixture.

Silverstream improved to 5-0 in the Premiership competition and crucially scored a four-try bonus point with the last play of the match.

Lock ‘Mahi’ Maddox Jacobs bustled over after a sustained assault on the visitors’ line. Jacobs then turned John Eales, converting his own try from close to the sideline – rich reward for a wholehearted display.

The first 15 minutes lacked the vibrancy of the climax. Both teams were guilty of committing multiple fumbles with Rongotai only narrowly ahead in the territory stakes.

Silverstream’s scrum was absolutely imperious but was frequently penalised. Perhaps safety reasons is the only explanation? Silverstream might have been better advised to hold their weight and allow their loose forwards to pressure from a stable platform instead of risking a push beyond the illegal one metre and a half.

Silverstream makes one of several decisive breaks in their win over Rongotai.

In the 16th minute Rongotai went within a whisker of scoring, losing the ball close to the paint and cruelly conceding at the opposite end. Silverstream first-five Maui Winitana-Patelesio smashed through the middle of the ruck, a missile of a cleanout, that set Silverstream free down the left wing. In a movement involving a dozen hands tighthead prop Ben Kershaw was an elated finisher on the right wing.

Silverstream took control of the first-half from this point and a rolling maul try was scored by openside Connor Vlas to make it 10-0.

Rongotai first-five Afa Fa’avae kicked a 30-metre penalty and the halftime score was 10-3. Once again Fa’avae shined with his guile and courage though often the transfer from the ruck was slow and messy.

Silverstream second-five Emmanuel Solomona opened the second-half scoring with a penalty, 13-3.

Much of the game was played between the two ten-metre lines. When Silverstream employed width they were able to shatter the Rongotai defence, the last pass often letting them down.

Silverstream’s third try was scored by lock Lennox Easthope, the direct route trustworthy for a big pack.

Rongotai’s heart on defence was commendable. No.8 Pharrel Gray was especially industrious along with blindside Meihana Roberts. Rongotai’s lineout was improved from their win over Wellington College.

Silverstream leads the traditional fixture history 42 wins to 19 with three draws.

In drizzly but still conditions at Whanganui Collegiate, Wellington College went close to snatching victory with a couple of minutes to play but ultimately came up short against a passionate home school.

A late attacking raid up into Collegiate 22 ended with a grubber kick through to the in-goal that was pushed a fraction too far and Collegiate scrambled and cleared.

Wellington College had been chasing the game from early on, after Collegiate found space and sent bustling right wing Tim O’Leary in to score and first five Pita Manamanaivalu converted from the sideline.

Whanganui Collegiate about to score their first try to right wing Tim O’Leary (headgear).

Wellington College’s Stanley Solomon kicked a penalty to pull the score back to 7-3 but when Collegiate’s second five William Johnston scored from close quarters later in the half to put his side up 12-3 momentum was well and truly with the home side.

Collegiate closed the first half out hot on attack and Wellington College defended well in preventing a third try.

Wellington College started the second half brightly, No. 8 Jack Riley scoring in the right corner off an attacking scrum and Solomon converting to close the deficit to 12-10.

No. 8 Jack Riley scores Wellington College’s try early in the second half.

After just missing one penalty, and following a first half penalty miss as well, Solomon stepped up to kick a penalty to put his side in the lead at 13-12. But Collegiate rallied and kicked the winning penalty with several minutes to play.

Collegiate were deserved winners, with a strong scrum and committed work in the breakdowns led by captain and flanker Harvey Meyer and putting pressure on Wellington throughout.

But it was Collegiate’s midfield attack that was a telling factor in the game, second five William Johnston making numerous breaks and centre Josh Brunger and fullback Monty Sheriff were both dangerous as well.

Wellington College also lost starting tighthead prop Joe Jones-Mackey to what appeared a serious leg injury midway through the second half. They return home to play St Bernard’s College this weekend in round six of the Wellington First XV Premiership.

This was Whanganui Collegiate’s first back-to-back win over Wellington College since 1990/91.

It was a tough loss considering Wellington College had been edged 34-31 by Nelson College on day one on Monday. Collegiate had lost 47-33 to Christ’s.

The Quadrangular Final that followed resulted in an emphatic 48-7 win to Nelson College over Christ’s College, in a match that doubled as a Crusaders First XV competition round-robin fixture.

Under clearing skies, Nelson were fast out of the blocks and after scoring early to right wing Callum Robertson, went on to score three more tries in the next 15 minutes to take a 24-0 lead.

The Ross Kennedy-coached Christ’s came back late in the first half but couldn’t penetrate, finally doing so in another good spell early in the second half.

But that was as close as they came, Nelson running rampant once more and pulling well clear. When second five and captain Nelesoni Malaulau dived in near the uprights with about 15 minutes to play it was all over.

All joy for Nelson’s players on fulltime.

The 48-7 win was comprehensive, but it wasn’t a record. In 1997 Nelson beat Christ’s 55-7 in the final.

This was Nelson’s fourth consecutive Quadrangular Tournament win – a school record in the 96 years of this tournament.

With only several year 13s in their squad and a promising group of year 11s and 12s, Nelson are well set to keep their contemporary grip on the title in the next couple of years. Nelson made the National Top 4 in 2019 and were supposed to play in it in 2021. The way they played today, it will be little surprise if they make the Palmerston Norths NZSS tournament later this season too.

The Quadrangular title hasn’t been in the North Island since 2014, since Wellington College won the last of their 12 consecutive titles.  Nelson have won 28 times overall.

Pioneers of Rugby in Wellington: 017 J.M. Thomson

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