by St Paul's Collegiate School

1st XV Rugby camp held at Tihoi

Following the entertaining afternoon of “St Paul’s Got Talent” held on the last day of term, the 1st XV rugby squad headed off to Tihoi for a four-day camp, to bond with each other, enjoy some of Karli’s hearty cooking, fine-tune some of their newly acquired rugby skills and play two intense pre-season matches.

As Gee was away, a huge thank you to Karli, in particular, and Mrs Smith for their hospitality. Being at Tihoi brought back some happy memories for some, like stamp runs, icy cold dips in the stream, and poor internet coverage! Despite the intense cold of the first night and the rain, we had a great time, learning a new 1st XV Haka, playing games with coach Cody, reflecting with Chappie and developing our rugby match strategies. We travelled over to Owen Delaney Park on Saturday for a game against Napier Boys’ High School and then on Monday, Gisborne Boys’ High School joined us at Tihoi, before both teams headed off to Taupo again, on Tuesday, for a rugby showdown. The men dispersed for the holidays then, only to reconvene in Clark House the following Tuesday to prepare for the Wednesday (of Week 2) game against Hamilton Boys’ High School. Here is a brief description of the three games, written by three of the players. 

1st XV vs Napier Boys’ High School (Report by Matthew Johnson)

After spending Friday night freezing at Tihoi, the boys were eager to get back on the pitch for the first time this year. Led-out by Captain, Ben Strang, on a windy, overcast day at Owen Delaney Park, St Paul’s faced a well-prepared Napier Boys’ team. Initially, both sides were exchanging the ball. However, countless discipline penalties from us gave Napier numerous attacking opportunities. Within 20 minutes of play, Napier executed a try to put them up 5-0. Shortly after, SPC bounced back, (and Napier Boys’ quite literally bounced back) with a hard carry from Havila Molia crashing down under the sticks, and St Paul’s were back in the game. The try converted by the magical right foot of Jayden who rarely misses. Following this, Napier Boys’ scored another unconverted try out wide to have the final say in the first half. The second half was very similar. Napier attacked well and scored two early tries, only converting one. Some razzle dazzle from Ben Strang, and a brute carry from Tiaki Rhodes put St Paul’s back over the line one last time before Napier ran away with the game. Final score 17-29 to Napier Boys’.

1st XV vs Gisborne Boys’ High School (Report by Jae Broomfield)

After a disappointing loss against Napier Boys’ the SPC men were rejuvenated and ready to come out firing against Gisborne Boys’. Right from the first kick-off St Paul’s brought a constant wave of pressure and energy which forced Gisborne into making mistakes that St Paul’s were able to capitalize on. With the forward pack providing good front football the St Paul’s backline were able to strike with ‘danger man’ Matthew Johnson at centre carving through the Gisborne backline and running good support lines that enabled St Paul’s to grab a few tries early on in the match. After sustained pressure from the team, which kept Gisborne stuck inside their own half, Havila Molia was able to capitalise on some poor defence off a penalty and was able to step his way through and score right near the posts. After another good team try that was finished off by Tiaki Rhodes, St Paul’s were able to launch an attack from inside their own five metre line with another great display of support running and offloading that culminated in Ben Strang going over for the last try leading into halftime. Halftime Score 31-0. The second half was another great display of rugby from the team in which they were able to go over for two more tries with two driving mauls that resulted in tries to Matthew Waddell and Toby Robb. Although Gisborne were able to strike back with a try of their own, St Paul’s were the worthy winners, giving a great display of rugby and a hint of their potential for the season, with the final score being 43-7 to SPC.

1st XV vs HBHS (Report by Ben Strang)

On a far from perfect Hamilton day the St Paul’s men made the trip down the road to play their annual pre-season game against rivals Hamilton Boys’ High School. We knew it was going to be a tough game with the inclement weather adding to the difficulty. The boys started well applying pressure right from the kick-off. After a good run by Niah Church-Jones down the side-line we were deep inside the Boys’ High 22. The first points of the game came from the boot of Jaeden “Mr Shlick” Wilson with a penalty. After failing to exit, Boys’ High were next to attack and were next to score with a rough decision that went their way. Once again, we managed to get back down into the right parts of the field and were rewarded with another penalty by Jaeden. However, Hamilton Boys’ were able to strike back before the end of the half leaving the score at 10-6. The second half started much like the first with Hamilton Boys’ scoring first. After a good passage of play, Tiaki Rhodes scored off a lineout drive putting SPC back into the game. However, we then made a few errors that Hamilton Boys’ were able to capitalize on, which let them run away with a few quick tries in the final minutes of the game. Final score 13-32 to HBHS.