by St Paul's Collegiate School

Rugby quad compete at St Paul's

This was the twelfth year that the under-16 Rugby Quadrangular Tournament has been contested. The four schools involved were Sacred Heart College – Auckland, Palmerston North Boys’ High School, Hamilton Boys’ High School and St Paul’s Collegiate School. This year St Paul’s hosted the three-day tournament.

St Paul’s came into the tournament with high expectations and were hopeful we could win the tournament for the first time.

Playing against Sacred Heart was the St Paul’s team’s first game. On a beautiful sunny day, the game started fast with an added intensity. St Paul’s were able to create multiple scoring opportunities, camping on the Sacred Heart try line, crossing it three times but held up each time. Sacred Heart had some quality backs and when St Paul’s made a mistake, the away team were able to capitalize each time, scoring three quick tries before halftime. The games were quick, with only 25-minute halves and going into the second half the team knew they had to score first. The team Captain, Ben Strang took the bull by the horns and crossed the line twice! Only to have one of his efforts disallowed. Unfortunately, this is how the game ended, St Paul’s losing 20-5.

Recovery was a priority at this point as the team played Palmerston North Boys’ High School early the next morning. This time the game was played away on the Hamilton Boys’ High School fields. After a productive team review to start the morning, winning this game was the goal and confidence was key. The team warm-up provided plenty of energy and this rolled straight into the game where St Paul’s were able to create plenty of scoring opportunities early on. The team were unable to finish and poor discipline meant Palmerston North Boys’ were first to get points from a penalty kick. The team focus in the second half was to play in the right part of the field and take the opportunities when they came. Early in the second half, the forwards went to work and Ben Strang was able to drive himself over to take the lead. Some gutsy defence and a strong work ethic meant the team were able to grind out a good win 7-3.

Day Three brought the tournament back to the St Paul’s grounds. A game against old foes Hamilton Boys’ High School was next. Losing some keys players to injury meant some young men had to step up. The game was played in some tough conditions. A high error count and failing to exit on multiple occasions meant that the opposition was able to dominate possession and territory early in the game with them scoring a couple of soft tries. A struggling set-piece was a momentum killer for St Paul’s, meaning the team were unable to create many scoring opportunities.

Later in the first half, Harry Trumm was able to intercept the ball and run the length of the field to score, closing the gap and providing the team with some much-needed confidence but failing to take the kick-off gave Hamilton Boys' another chance to play in the right part and they were good enough to once again covert this into points. The second half was much of the same, although St Paul’s were able to cross the line twice but were held up on both occasions. The final score was a 20-5 loss for St Paul’s.

Overall the team performed well over the three days, highlighting some key work-ons and exposing some young players to the intensity of rugby required at the next level.

A big thank you to all of the 26 players involved, team management and to all of the families who took in billets.