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Mana College win Beard Trophy off Aotea College

For the second time in a fortnight the Beard Trophy has changed hands, with Mana College beating Aotea College 31-24 in Aotea’s first defence since toppling Bishop Viard College in the first match of the series.

Match highlights below:

Mana opened the scoring early but Aotea replied with their first try soon after to briefly put them in the lead at 7-5, but a yellow card to Mana’s wing served to work in his team’s favour as they ran in the next two tries to move ahead 17-7.

Playing into the dying wind and with the setting sun behind them, Mana capitalised when centre Sean Felise picked up a dropped ball and ran 50 metres to score. And then a long build-up led to fullback Kya Albert-Niha crossing again.

At this stage Mana’s backs were clearly on top, but Aotea’s committed forwards were threatening.

Next it was Aotea’s turn to lose a player to the sinbin, their lock shown yellow – however, like Mana before them, they quickly scored a try with 14 players. They kicked for the corner from a penalty and scored from the lineout drive which made it 17-12 to Mana at halftime.

Aotea’s opening kickoff of the second half didn’t go 10 metres. From a scrum on half way, Mana attacked and centre Felise crossed the line in the corner and Mana converted, to go 24-12 up.

Aotea’s forwards put them in a good position in the 22, and from a subsequent lineout in the corner, tighthead hooker Aura Kupa scored a popular try in the corner to close it up to 24-17.

But in failing light, the Du Plessis Kirifi-coached Mana hit back after Aotea’s exit kick was charged down and this led to that man again, centre Felise, running in his fourth try, and the match-winner, with several minutes to play.

The holders Aotea weren’t going to relinquish the Beard Trophy easily, and another concerted period of attacking play inside the 22 saw hooker Aura Kupa score again, which was his fourth try of the match.

This Saturday, Mana College play St Bernard’s College at the Hutt Rec at 12.30pm in their second round Premiership fixture, while Aotea College are also in the Hutt Valley to play Naenae College at 1.00pm in their second round Premier 2 Murray Jensen Cup match.

Beard Trophy matches 2023:

  • Game 1 – May 10th  Aotea College 20-18 Bishop Viard College
  • Game 2 – May 24th Mana College 31 – Aotea College 24
  • Game 3 – June 7th  v Porirua College
  • Game 4 – June 21st v Tawa College

About the Beard Trophy:

The Beard Trophy format sees four matches played every season. If the holder is beaten then the next challenger plays the new holder in the next scheduled match and so on.

Stored inside the Beard Trophy is a book with records of every single game, which is kept updated.

The details of many memorable matches for the Beard Trophy and of some famous players who have gone on to representative honours in rugby and other sports is on record inside the Beard  Trophy.

The Beard Trophy was donated in 1968 by the family that bears its name for an annual match between Tawa and Mana Colleges.

In subsequent years, Porirua College, Bishop Viard College and then Aotea College joined up and it became an annual ‘Ranfurly Shield’ style trophy for competition amongst these five schools that make up Tawa and the Porirua basin.


Meanwhile, elsewhere today, Tawa College beat Upper Hutt College in their Co-ed Cup fixture. On Tuesday, Porirua College beat Newlands College 61-19 in the Co-ed Cup and HIBS defeated Rathkeale College 27-12 in their First XV Traditional.

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