The Ranfurly Shield of New Zealand schoolboy rugby, the Moascar Cup has been brought home by the TBHS First XV!
This Cup dates back to the end of the World War I when British,
New Zealand and Australian soldiers camped at Moascar in Ismaila. Egypt formed
the Ismaila Rugby Union and organised a rugby competition and a cup – described
as "a handsome Irish cup" – and had it mounted on a piece of a wooden
propeller from a German aircraft shot down in Palestine. Won by the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Unit
and Depot, which won nine of its ten matches, the cup was brought home and
presented to the New Zealand Rugby Football Union on condition that it be a
challenge trophy for secondary schools.
Played for at every home game, only four South Island schools have ever held the cup: Christchurch Boys' High School (the inaugural winners), St Bede's College, St Andrew's and now Timaru Boys' High School.
A determined Timaru Boys' High School First XV upset St Andrew’s College 14-11 to win the Moascar Cup. TBHS deserved their 14-11 win in Christchurch, also inflicting St Andrew’s first loss in the Crusader’s Schools Championship.
Assistant coach Gavin Miller said it was taking him some time to process the significance of winning such a prestigious trophy. He credited the side's uncompromising defence for the win. "The boys tackled really well and scored two good tries."
TBHS got off to the perfect start with a try to No.8 Finlay Joyce from a lineout move, with Monty Nixon landing the conversion from out near the touch.
St Andrew’s replied with a try and penalty to take the lead 8-7, then extended to four points with another penalty.
With three minutes left, TBHS centre Ofa Manuofetoa went in under the posts after an attacking move off a scrum, with TBHS using their big wing Isireli Kawa as a decoy. TBHS then had to staunchly defend in the final few minutes for their victory.
TBHS prop Thomas Edwards had an excellent game along with fellow front rower Shane Fikken, who continues to impress despite only being in Year 11. Captain Cullen Grace put in his usual strong performance in the pack while Finlay Joyce also played a crucial hand in the win.
TBHS were dealt a blow early losing second five Brad Cvitanich to a knee injury which meant Kaleb Hunt-Wheeler had to shift from open side to second five. Wheeler-Hunt and Manuofetoa however, proved a handful for the St Andrew’s midfield, while Kawa was dangerous out wide on the few occasions he saw the ball.
TBHS will have to again find an extra gear to retain the Moascar Cup, with a run of three tough home matches in 10 days this coming week.
They host Nelson Boys' College on Saturday 18 June, then
Otago Boys' High School in their traditional inter-school fixture on Wednesday
before facing Christ's College, with the cup on the line each time.