EPIC FINAL HIGHLIGHTS TOP 4
By Campbell Burnes: September 17, 2015
As ever, Rotorua BHS was the venue for another cracking national Top 4 First XV tournament in both the co-ed and boys’ divisions from September 4-6.
There was a good number of Barbarians from near and far on hand to lend support and see some of tomorrow’s stars today, as the SKY slogan goes.
And while a cloud hung over the Rotorua BHS victory, following eligibility questions relating to its Super 8 competition, there was no evidence of impropriety at the Top 4 weekend itself. Certainly on the field, Rotorua deserved its triumph and produced a marvellous final with Scots College of Wellington, the co-defending champion.
Following the tournament, 53 players were named to attend a New Zealand schools camp, from which 25 were chosen for the NZ Barbarians Schools squad. That team is listed at the bottom of this report. Again coached by Darren Larsen, the NZ Barbarians Schools were to play NZ Schools at Palmerston North BHS on September 19, looking to preserve an unbeaten three-year record since inception in 2012.
The Friday saw two contrasting, yet dramatic, boys’ Top 4 semifinals.
In the first, co-defending champs Scots College, after an emotional few weeks in which it had lost the Wellington final to St Pat’s Town, then turned the tables on Town in the Hurricanes decider, and seen a weakened side divested of the Moascar Cup just days earlier, engineered a startling comeback to beat the South Island champion Otago BHS 35-27.
Some good hustle and commitment from the Otago BHS pack rocked Scots in the opening stanza. No 8 Slade McDowall, who made NZ Schools, made a 50m dash from the base of a messy scrum to open the account, and added a second just 10 minutes later, this time much closer to the line but again off a scrum.
The dangerous Scots centre and skipper Peter Umaga-Jensen, nephew of Barbarian Tana Umaga, replied with a brilliant try, set up by bullocking prop Alex Fidow and his twin Thomas Umaga-Jensen.
Otago BHS prop Sione Asi wrestled his way over, but his Scots opposite Moala Katoa, set up by Peter Umaga-Jensen, crossed to even it up at 17-all at halftime.
The twins were at it again, setting up hooker Lotunu’u Haueia, before Asi added his second. Otago BHS led 27-25 before the inevitable late Scots flourish. Fidow made a barrelling charge, and a cutout pass to player of the match Thomas Umaga-Jensen sealed the encounter.
In the final analysis, the 41 missed tackles by Otago BHS were costly, though its pack was more than up for the challenge.
In the second semifinal, home team Rotorua BHS upset the Auckland 1A champion St Kentigern 7-5.
An already depleted St Kentigern backline lost both starting midfielders to injury before the 15-minute mark, and Rotorua’s physical approach took its toll. No 8 Kaydis Hona drive over with good body position from close range.
Facing a 7-0 halftime deficit, St Kentigern had to throw everything at its opponents, and there was hope when halfback Henry Saker scored from an 8-9 scrum move. But as the rain came down, Rotorua’s continuity game told. Player of the match went to fullback and captain Isaac Te Aute, who was busy and effective and made a trysaving tackle on St Kentigern prop Jerry Samania.
In the co-ed semis, Moascar Cup holder St Andrew’s College of Christchurch, partly thanks to a Layton Francis double, defeated Feilding High School 27-18, while Cambridge High School edged Blues co-ed champion Aorere of Auckland 18-16.
Rotorua BHS fullback Isaac Te Aute on the way to a
stunning solo try in the Top 4 final against Scots.
So to Sunday, finals day.
Conditions were fine and St Andrew’s appeared relaxed ahead of the co-ed final, even though the Moascar was on the line.
“You only feel pressure when you don’t know what you’re doing,” said STAC captain and lock George Mirfin. Well said.
What followed was a well-deserved 30-13, four tries to one victory, which gave STAC the Barbarians Trophy and allowed it to retain the Moascar Cup. Wing and player of the match Harry Murray led the way with a brace from his pace, while the scrum was dominant. In the midfield, centre Raymond Nu’u came up with some stinging tackles. Layton Francis scored from a well-executed lineout drive.
Cambridge simply missed too many tackles, 18 alone by the break, but did score a fine try to centre Reirei Tupaea, while No 10 Spencer Jones kicked well.
At fulltime, the STAC players were so exhausted they could hardly raise their arms in triumph.
After the epic 2014 boys’ final, one could hardly have hoped for a similar decider in 2015, but Rotorua and Scots provided it, the 36-27 drama played out until the 70th and final minute.
There was a swirling wind. Scots sprung the first surprise by having prop Alex Fidow pack down at No 8. He was again a constant handful, his well-honed skillset belying his huge 143kg frame.
Rotorua opened the scoring through halfback Te Ra Whata, who took a long inside ball from wing Ngarohi McGarvey-Black. Scots’ go-to lineout man was lock Henry Mexted, but the Rotorua pack was making some strong carries, and the slick footwork of Te Aute at the back was causing concern. However, he was slipped by his opposite Jack Gray for Scots’ opening try.
Rotorua’s reply was swift and deadly, wing James Tofa over after assists by Te Aute and McGarvey-Black. Tofa looked to be over again soon afterwards but was pinged for a double movement.
At 27 minutes, I made note of what happened next. Te Aute scored one of the finest solo tries of 2015 at any level of rugby. He beat five defenders on a 60m exhibition of pace, acceleration and guile. One can see why All Blacks Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens likes the cut of this kid’s gib.
Scots stormed back, Fidow scoring before the break in a show of power and agility to bring it to 19-12 Rotorua. As is so often the case, the Umaga-Jensens broke the game open, Peter scoring from Thomas’ bust in an 80m thriller.
Rotorua hit back through Tofa’s second, from a heads-up play by the pack, and another sparking effort by Te Aute.
Fidow’s second try off another long build-up featuring the Umaga-Jensens saw Rotorua hold a 29-27 lead into the final 10 minutes of high drama. There was a red card, and a yellow card against Rotorua, but Scots could not make their advantage count. Then came a crowd invasion before Kaydis Hona sealed it in the last minute with a try.
Rotorua had won its fourth national title and with it the Barbarians Cup. Te Aute was, rightly, adjudged Top 4 player of the year
“On behalf of the Barbarians club, I just want to say how proud we are to be involved with this tournament,” said President Bryan Williams. “To be able to support the future stars of the game is something we are very pleased to do. What a fantastic final. I congratulate both teams… Rotorua will be going to the Sanix tournament (in Japan) next year.”
Joy for Rotorua BHS: its first Top 4 title since 2003.
National Top 4 schools tournament (Rotorua Boys' High School)
Top 4 boys’ semifinals:
Scots College (Wellington) 35 (Peter Umaga-Jensen, Moala Katoa, Latunu’u Haueia, Thomas Umaga-Jensen tries; Malo Manuao 2 con, 3 pen, Peter Umaga-Jensen con) Otago BHS 27 (Slade McDowall 2, Sione Asi 2 tries; Burns Mills 2 con, pen) Halftime: 17-17
Rotorua BHS 7 (Kaydis Hona try; Kaleb Trask con) St Kentigern 5 (Henry Saker try) Halftime: 7-0 Rotorua BHS
Third/fourth playoff: St Kentigern 31 Otago BHS 27
Final (Barbarians Cup):
Rotorua BHS 36 (James Tofa 2, Isaac Te Aute 2, Te Ra Whata, Kaydis Hona tries; Kaleb Trask 3 con) Scots College 27 (Alex Fidow 2, Jack Gray, Peter Umaga-Jensen tries; Malo Manuao 2 con, pen) Halftime: 19-12 Rotorua BHS
Top 4 co-ed semifinals:
Moascar Cup: St Andrew’s College (Christchurch) 27 (Layton Francis 2, George Mirfin, Elliott Smith tries; Sam Gilbert 2 con, pen) Feilding High School 18 (Siosaia Teumohenga, Chris Cairns tries; Tom Stewart con, 2 pen)
Cambridge High School 18 (Daniel Thornton, Caleb Sheehan tries; Spencer Jones con, 2 pen) Aorere College (Auckland) 16 (Mose Senio, Isaac Laga tries; JP Mgatoko 2 pen)
Third-fourth playoff: Feilding HS 47 Aorere College 29
Final (Barbarians Trophy)/Moascar Cup:
St Andrew’s College (Christchurch) 30 (Harry Murray 2, Layton Francis, George Mirfin tries; Sam Gilbert 2 con, 2 pen) Cambridge HS 13 (Reirei Tupaea try; Spencer Jones con, 2 pen) Halftime: 17-6 St Andrew’s
National Top 4 girls’ tournament (Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North)
Top 4 girls’ semifinals:
Southland Girls’ High School 20 Feilding High School 10
Hamilton Girls' High School 42 Southern Cross Campus (Auckland) 12
Third-fourth playoff: Feilding HS 27 Southern Cross 24
Final: Hamilton GHS 27 Southland GHS 5
2015 NZ Barbarians Schools squad:
Sam Toa (Hamilton BHS)
Stephen Perofeta (Wanganui Collegiate)
Antonio Mikaele-Tu’u (Hastings BHS)
Jona Nareki (Feilding HS)
Freedom Vaha’akolo (Auckland Grammar)
James Little (Takapuna Grammar)
Raymond Nu’u (St Andrew’s)
Bailyn Sullivan (King’s)
Tiaan Falcon (Lindisfarne)
Ciarahn Matoe (King’s)
Thomas Stewart (Feilding HS)
Melino Fineanganofo (Auckland Grammar)
Joshua Brown (St Pat’s Silverstream)
Thomas Christie (Shirley BHS)
Brayden Iose (Palmerston North BHS)
Ajay Mua (King’s)
Isitolo Maka (Sacred Heart)
Jacob Pierce (Rosmini)
Ben Sau (De La Salle)
Sione Asi (Otago BHS)
Ryan Coxon (St Peter’s, Cambridge)
Tim Farrell (Napier BHS)
Antonio Ripata (Auckland Grammar)
Samisoni Taukei’aho (St Paul’s Collegiate)
Flynn Thomas (Southland BHS)
MORE TOP QUALITY AT TOP 4
By Campbell Burnes, September 18, 2014
The Barbarians club should be suitably impressed at the top
quality of rugby during this important weekend which it sponsors.
Played on two match days - Friday September 5 and Sunday September
7 - at the usual venue of Rotorua Boys' High, there were a
good number of spectators, and club members, watching some
open play under sunny skies and warmish, yet windy conditions.
In the decider, Scots College and the defending champion
Hamilton Boys' High produced a thriller, culminating in a
26-all draw, the title thus shared for the fourth time since
There was drama aplenty going back to the first big televised
match, the semifinal between Auckland 1A champion, Auckland
Grammar, and the first-time Wellington champion, Scots College.
The Moascar Cup, in Auckland Grammar's possession, was also
up for grabs.
Scots centre Malo Tuitama had made a flying visit back from
Samoa and a family bereavement but you would not have known
as he registered a double with some elusive and speedy running.
Inside him, the dangerous Thomas Umaga-Jensen was always on
the lookout for an offload, running with the ball in one hand
like some stockier Sonny Bill Williams. But it was Auckland
Grammar tighthead prop Callum Otway who drove through the
middle of a ruck, formed from a lineout, to score the game's
Tuitama could not be kept out of the game. His first try
came from a turnover won by his openside Michael Findlay,
and he swivelled and dived over for the five-pointer. Soon
afterwards, lock Henry Mexted, son of Alan and nephew of new
Barbarian Murray, scored off an astonishing 35m Scots lineout
Auckland Grammar, bowed but not yet broken, had the final
say of the first spell via fullback Shaun Stevenson, who scored
a fine solo try off a grubber and chase.
Scots turned with an 18-17 lead and a free licence to press
'go' on their high octane rugby.
First five TJ Va'a stepped off his left foot from a scrum,
leaving his marker Wiseguy Faiane clutching at air. Auckland
Grammar's riposte, courtesy of outstanding lock Sam Ulufonua,
was swift. He pilfered a Scots lineout and beat four before
plunging over. They had pegged the margin back to 22-25. But
Scots were about to deliver two knockout blows. The first
came off a long build-up and good pass by Peter Umaga-Jensen,
twin of Thomas. Tuitama was on the end for his second score.
Big prop Alex Fidow, a man with skills to match his size,
finished off another burst by Thomas Umaga-Jensen. Fidow then
buried Auckland Grammar hooker Brook Wilson in a tackle that
summed up Scots' dominance of the second spell. Auckland Grammar
centre Rieko Ioane, apparently a 2016 Blues signing, crossed
but his try was ruled out as time ran down. The favourites
had missed 24 tackles. That was the tale of the match, that
and the brilliant back play of Scots, led by Va'a with a try
and six from seven off the tee. So happy was the skipper that
he had forgotten his side had just annexed the Moascar Cup,
39-22, for the first time in their history!
If the crowd thought that was dramatic, they barely had time
to catch their breath before the second Top 4 semifinal was
upon them, three-time champion Hamilton Boys' High against
South Island champion Christchurch Boys' High, one of the
great rugby schools.
The defending champion prevailed 20-19, but only just doing
enough to repel a fast-finishing Christchurch BHS.
Hamilton's right wing Sam Toia scored first, putting the
exclamation point on a beautifully constructed try. The Chiefs
regional champion was good for its 8-0 halftime lead, even
though the likes of blindside flanker Jacob Vincent was industrious
and No 12 Alex Nankivell penetrative for Christchurch.
But when Hamilton halfback Nick McCurran zipped off from
an 8-9 scrum move and lock Viliami Tuipulotu scored from a
pass one off a ruck, Hamilton had a 20-7 advantage. Christchurch
had sent No 14 Fraser Scott between the uprights, but appeared
to be gone. However, they rallied courageously, hooker Jim
Smith bulldogging over with perfect body position and left
wing Cameron Hay nailing an opportunist try to haul the margin
back to one. But time ran out.
Player of the match went to Hamilton's ubiquitous No 7 Jahrome
There were two other thrillers, if that were possible, in
the co-ed semifinals. Halfback Tom Stewart landed a last minute
penalty goal to seal Feilding High's path to the final, 14-13
over Auckland co-ed champion Otahuhu, who scored two tries
Cambridge High had a 15-14 narrow squeak over St Kevin's of
The Barbarians' banner was front
during the Top 4 weekend in Rotorua.
Feilding High made no race of the co-ed final, played as
curtainraiser to the Top 4 final. They ended Cambridge High's
winning streak at 14 with a clinical 43-10 victory, thus claiming
the Barbarians Trophy, presented by club president Bryan Williams.
They ran in six tries, many of them crackers, and none shone
brighter than player of the match, right wing Luther Hirini.
He scored two and set one up with a combination of speed,
skill and rugby nous. The individual highlight, though, was
a 100m effort from a chip and regather, finished in style
by No 15 Vilimoni Koroi.
Cambridge competed gamely, but was over-run by swift, free-wheeling
Feilding rugby. They did engage a 13-man lineout at one stage,
and had the last laugh through centre Sonny Leonard, but Feilding
were convincing and deserved victors.
So to the Top 4 final, with the Moascar up for grabs, not
to mention the crown of national First XV champion.
The opening exchanges were as explosive as they were extraordinary.
Scots roared to a 19-0 lead after 25 minutes, scoring thrice
within just seven minutes with some irresistible attacking
play and width, and had bombed at least two other tries!
Wing Connor Garden-Bachop, son of former All Black Stephen,
made up for blowing one of those tries by crossing after some
slick work by Fidow and Va'a. Before Hamilton could regroup,
Tuitama had finished off a 50m movement started by a Thomas
Umaga-Jensen bust and offload. The latter then laid on another
for his twin, centre Peter.
Hamilton had every reason to look shellshocked, especially
as some of the stats were in their favour. But they regained
their confidence when centre Elijah Ale scored near the posts,
executing a 2-3 cut with precision.
Soon into the second spell, Hamilton's outstanding hooker,
Solomone Tukuafe, scored the first of two tries off lineout
drives. That sandwiched an intercept try, for his second,
When Jahrome Brown dotted down for a quite superb team try,
Hamilton had hauled themselves off the canvas to be back on
level terms at 26-all. Both teams, heavy with fatigue despite
good fitness, then traded blows, but Scots' option-taking
was coming under scrutiny. Hamilton No 10 Orbyn Leger sprayed
a drop goal just wide at 63 minutes, but his side finished
slightly the stronger.
There was some confusion at fulltime, but there is no provision
for extra time for schoolboy rugby, and so, for the first
time since Hamilton BHS had drawn 6-6 with Auckland's De La
Salle in 2008, the Top 4 title was shared.
Thomas Umaga-Jensen, unsurprisingly, was voted player of
the match, for his bustling surges and ability to offload.
Bryan Williams, in presenting the Barbarians Cup to the two
skippers, addressed the crowd: "On behalf of the Barbarians,
I just want to say what a great privilege it is to sponsor
this tournament. I want to congratulate both teams on a magnificent
performance, obviously a game of two halves, great structure
versus great flair."
That is a fair summation of one of the great games of schoolboys
rugby and some of the most compelling play seen all weekend
from test matches to ITM Cup.
Keeping a close eye on the rugby were a clutch of rugby men
such as Barbarians Dave Rennie, Wayne Smith and Willie Los'e
(in TV commentary), not to mention many scouts, agents and
coaches from around the country.
National Top 4 schools tournament (Rotorua Boys' High School):
Top 4 semifinals:
Scots College (Wellington) 39 (Malo Tuitama 2, Henry
Mexted, TJ Va'a, Alex Fidow tries; Va'a 4 con, 2 pen) Auckland
Grammar 22 (Callum Otway, Shaun Stevenson, Sam Ulufonua
tries; Wiseguy Faiane 2 con, pen) Halftime: 18-17 Scots College
Hamilton Boys' High 20 (Sam Toia, Nicholas McCurman,Viliami
Tuipulotu tries; Shanan Tomuri con, Matt Lansdown pen) Christchurch
Boys' High 19 (Fraser Scott, Jim Smith, Cameron Hay tries;
Alex Nankivell 2 con) Halftime: 8-0 Hamilton BHS
Final (Barbarians Cup):
Scots 26 (Connor Garden-Bachop 2, Malo Tuitama, Peter
Umaga-Jensen tries; TJ Va'a 3 con) Hamilton BHS 26
(Solomone Tukuafe 2, Elijah Ale, Jahrome Brown tries; Matt
Lansdown 3 con) Halftime: 19-7 Scots
Co-ed top 4 semifinals:
Feilding High 14 (Luther Hirini try; Tom Stewart 3
pen) Otahuhu 13 (Iose Brown, Tevita Tuipulotu tries;
Jacob Iakopo pen) Halftime: 8-3 Otahuhu
Cambridge High 15 St Kevin's (Oamaru) 14
Third-fourth playoff: Otahuhu 58 St Kevin's 0
Final (Barbarians Trophy):
Feilding HS 43 (Luther Hirini 2, Tom Stewart, Matt
Raleigh, Hemi Bettridge, Vilimoni Koroi tries; Stewart 5 con,
pen) Cambridge High 10 (Sonny Leonard try; Spencer
Jones con, pen) Halftime: 26-3 Feilding High
(Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North)
Top 4 girls' semifinals
Southern Cross Campus 37 Feilding High 34
Hamilton Girls' High 19 Southland Girls' High 0
Third-fourth playoff: Southland Girls' High 20 Feilding 10
Final: Hamilton GHS 73 Southern Cross 0
Hamilton Boys' lift NZ Barbarians Cup
By Campbell Burnes at Hamilton BHS, September 2013
There may have been more expansive, fluid top 4 schools finals
since they kicked off in 1982, but surely few as drama-filled
and brutal as the 2013 edition for the NZ Barbarians Cup.
The underdog had its day before a large crowd of around 6000
at Hamilton Boys' High School. That seemed to be considerably
more than rolled up at Waikato Stadium, just two miles west,
for the Waikato-Auckland ITM Cup clash.
The home side not only won 12-10 to annex its third national
crown and retain the Moascar Cup, but it downed one of the
most powerful schoolboy sides in recent memory - St Kentigern
College of Auckland, the defending champs, the world Sanix
champs and Auckland 1A champs. This First XV brought an incredible
unbeaten streak of 52 matches dating back to July 2011.
And for the first half, the favourites looked as though they
would wear down the committed Hamilton BHS First XV to make
The home team was led onto its home turf by a kapa haka group
and then both XVs went at each other hammer and tongs, setting
a furious pace, punctuated by some rasping, powerful defence.
St Kent's had the wind, but not the lion's share of possession,
nor, strangely, the field position. After first five William
Raea had opened the scoring with a penalty, heavy rain pelted
the spectators and players, but it was not enough to stop
second five TJ Faiane - who scored a superb solo try in the
2012 decider - diving over for what would be the only five-pointer
of the contest.
Turning at 10-3 to the visitors, the wind actually died,
but Hamilton BHS was ignited, playing some tactically sound
footy and tackling like demons. All its good work may have
been for nought were it not for a trysaving tackle by No 12
Mikaere Beattie on St Kent's right wing Harry Marks. And while
it was a challenging day for halfbacks - HBHS skipper and
No 9 Harrison Levien struggled with his clearance - the home
pack started to take control with some strong-arm driving
play, pressuring a St Kent's team unaccustomed to being placed
under such heat. Twice flanker Blake Bolli nearly plunged
over. By the 67-minute mark, three Bryn Gatland penalty goals
had edged HBHS to 9-10. But the pivot, son of Barbarian Warren,
called for the ball and potted the goal, his first of the
The fulltime whistle sounded. Cue joyous scenes of jubilation
as fellow Hamilton students and family flooded the pitch for
a sweet, sweet victory, capping a fine day for Waikato rugby.
An emotional co-coach Nigel Hotham said it was hard to compare
this national title with the shared trophy of 2008 (with Auckland's
De La Salle) and 2009 over Christchurch's St Bede's College.
"In 2008 we cried after that. We were so hard on ourselves
to win. Drawing it just wasn't the same. In 2009 we got away
on St Bede's and it was relatively comfortable. That was a
wonderful win for a team that was under-rated. This is a fantastic
team of young men with strong leadership and basically nice
boys too. Nice boys don't always win championships, but these
boys did," said Hotham, who has won the Moascar Cup three
times with two different schools.
Barbarians President Mike Mills presented Levien with the
NZ Barbarians Cup while the Moascar Cup will stay in the Hamilton
BHS trophy cabinet for the summer.
Other Barbarians on hand were club captain Mark Moore and
Keith Quinn, who does a sterling job as the TV commentator
for the Rugby Channel's First XV coverage.
September 14 (Hamilton BHS, Hamilton): Hamilton Boys'
High School 12 (Pens: Bryn Gatland 3; DG: Gatland) beat
St Kentigern College 10 (Try: TJ Faiane; Con: William
Raea; Pen: Raea); Halftime: 10-3 St Kent's
No less than four boys from each of Hamilton BHS and St Kent's
have made the New Zealand Schools cut for the looming three-match
tour of Australia.
From the former, Levien and Gatland will be joined by lock
Sam Chongkit and wing Isaac Te Tamaki, while St Kent's will
be celebrating the selections of loose forwards Blake Gibson
and Dillon Wihongi and midfielders TJ Faiane and Jonathan
Fa'auli. Wihongi and Faiane are making the step up from the
successful, unbeaten 2012 NZ Barbarians Schools squad, as
are loose forwards Mitchell Jacobson (Cambridge High School)
and Mitchell Karpik (King's College) and No 10 Damian McKenzie
Dave Dillon, the former Waikato and Thames Valley loose forward,
who helped guide the NZ Barbarians Schools last season, is
at the helm, aided by Darren Larsen. This team will play an
Auckland Schools XV next month.
The 24-strong squad includes several captains, such as hooker
Seko Pole of Otago Boys' High School, lock Harry Fitzsimons
of Auckland Grammar School and impressive flanker James Blackwell
of Wellington College.
Hamilton Boys' High School No 8 Tallis Karaitiana has also
made this team.
The New Zealand Barbarians Schools squad for 2013:
Jermaine Ainsley (Otago Boys' High School)
Willie (Junior) Halafuka (Auckland Grammar School)
Keilan Henry (Feilding High School)
Sekope Lopeti (Marlborough Boys' College)
Sekonaia Pole (Otago Boys' High School)
Harry Fitzsimons (Auckland Grammar School)
Fin Hoeata (Dilworth School)
Jack Sherratt (King's College)
James Blackwell (Wellington College)
Tallis Karaitiana (Hamilton Boys' High School)
Mungo Mason (Tauranga Boys' College)
Hugh Renton (Lindisfarne College)
Liam Howley (Southland Boys' High School)
Lisati Milo-Harris (St Peter's College)
Daniel Hollinshead (Tauranga Boys' College)
Josh Ioane (Kings College)
Fin Hart-Strawbridge (Nelson College)
Patelesio Tomkinson (Otago Boys' High School)
Malo Tuitama (Scots College)
Solomon Alaimalo (St Bede's College)
Fletcher Matthews (Waimea College)
Fereti Soloa (Naenae College )
Jordan Trainor (St Peter's College)
TOP QUALITY AT TOP 4
By Campbell Burnes
One of the centrepieces of the Barbarians calendar once again
showcased some high quality secondary schoolboys' rugby.
The top 4 weekend (September 6-8) at Rotorua Boys' High School
saw Tangaroa College of Auckland clinch its first national
co-ed schools title, while St Kentigern College and Hamilton
BHS won through to the September 14 national top 4 final with
hard-earned semifinal victories over Otago BHS and Wellington
In a repeat of the 2012 top 4 final, unbeaten St Kent's,
the world, Auckland and Blues region champion, was too clinical
and dynamic for Otago BHS, defeating the South Island champion
27-7 with four tries to one. St Kent's was dangerous on the
counterattack, controlled the lineouts and general play with
their continuity and support play. No 8 and skipper Blake
Gibson was to the fore, as was man of the match, wing Suliasi
Vunivalu, who crossed for a double. William Raea marshalled
play well from first five, and slotted three goals. The win
took St Kent's unbeaten run to 52 matches, dating back to
Otago BHS gave its all, but the only tangible reward came
in the form of a try to No 8 Tui Katoa, his 12th of the season.
In the other semifinal, the Chiefs champion Hamilton BHS
successfully defended the Moascar Cup and wore down Wellington
College, the Wellington and Hurricanes champion, 28-16, after
the sides turned at 13-all. Hamilton BHS first five Bryn Gatland
opened his team's account with a nicely-taken blindside try,
but the best moment came from a sparkling 50m individual chip
and regather score from wing Isaac Te Tamaki. Hamilton BHS'
superior fitness told in the final analysis, as did the sterling
work of its forwards, in particular man of the match lock
On the Sunday, Tangaroa College annexed the national co-ed
crown with a fine 32-13 win over Manurewa High School. Brilliantly
guided by No 10 George Taina, whose dancing feet helped set
up two tries and several other promising movements, Tangaroa
went to the break 20-0 to the good. Manurewa High missed too
many tackles in the first half, but tightened up and mounted
a mini-comeback before a final flourish by the victors.
Barbarians President Mike Mills took pleasure in presenting
the NZ Barbarians Trophy to the winning captain, No 8 Bill
Other than Mills, other Barbarians on hand were John Cresswell
(secretary), Bryan Williams (vice-president), Mark Moore (club
captain), John Mills, Ray Reardon, Jack Smith, Keith Quinn
and Warren Gatland. The latter was watching his son Bryn do
his thing for Hamilton BHS, while Quinn was, as ever, doing
the TV commentary for Landrover First XV on the Rugby Channel.
Quinn and fellow commentator Steve Davie made generous mention
of the Barbarians name and it was nice to see the big Barbarians
banner front and centre of the TV coverage.
Watch out for this Saturday's national schools final from
Hamilton BHS. Kickoff is at 2.45pm and it would be nice to
see a few Barbarians from the region in attendance.
Top 4 semifinals:
St Kentigern College 27 (Tries: Suliasi Vunivalu 2, Jethro
Felemi, Matthew Morrison; Cons: William Raea 2; Pen: Raea)
beat Otago Boys' High School 7 (Try: Tui Katoa; Con:
Sio Tomkinson); Halftime: 13-0 St Kent's
Hamilton Boys' High School 28 (Tries: Bryn Gatland,
Harrison Levien, Isaac Te Tamaki, Raukawa Neems; Con: Gatland;
Pens: Gatland 2) beat Wellington College 16 (Try: Wesley
Goosen; Con: Dante Matakatea; Pens: Matakatea 3); Halftime:
Co-ed final (NZ Barbarians Trophy:
Tangaroa College 32 (Tries: Loia Fetaoai 2, Bill Fukofuka,
Sioeli Alofi, Corey Tawhi; Cons: Talavou Faumuina 2; Pen:
Faumuina) beat Manurewa High School 13 (Try: Etuate
Toronibau; Con: Matavao Funguna; Pens: Funguna 2); Halftime:
Manurewa High School 24-6 Wairarapa College
Tangaroa College 52-7 Ashburton College
Co-ed third/fourth place:
Ashburton College 25-15 Wairarapa College
National girls' First XV championship semifinals:
Southland Girls' High School 32-20 Tamaki College
Feilding High School 30-19 Hamilton Girls' High School
Girls' third/fourth place:
Hamilton Girls' High School 20-12 Tamaki College
Feilding High School 19-12 Southland Girls' High School
Our involvement in New Zealand Secondary Schools Council
In 2006 the Barbarian Club agreed to become a major sponsor
of the NZSSC in respect to the annual inter schools first
XV play offs and the regional tournament. In 2007 a co-educational
division was added to the top 1st XV tournament as an incentive
for these schools to participate on a similar basis to the
open division. Co-ed schools have the option to choose to
play in either competition.
Over the 1st 3 years our club was a co-sponsor along with
Accor Hotels of the open top 1st XV competition and the regional
tournament. We were the sole sponsor of the co-educational
schools competition. Within the open top 1st XV competitions
and the regional competition the teams play for "Barbarian"
cups presented by the club officials on finals day.
The Club is pleased and proud to be actively involved for
a further 3 years following signing of a new sponsorship agreement
early this year. Our co-sponsor for the next 3 years for the
open top 1st XV championship is Williment Education Travel.
Accor has reduced its sponsorship to local events only.
While it is not an inconsiderable sum invested by the Barbarians
our club is very conscious of the growing demands society
experiences in funding school sport and we believe that our
contribution helps in a very important way. Selected Secondary
Schools rugby games are now being televised by Sky - Rugby
Channel. Look closely and you will see our name as a sponsor.
The 2010 programme has the Regional Games at Hamilton over
the 13th to 15th July. NZ Schools are split into 4 teams;
1 team representing South Island, 1 team representing the
Hurricane franchise area and 2 teams from the remaining North
Island Schools. These games are usually very closely fought
games containing the top players from throughout the NZ Secondary
Schools. It is from this group that the selection of the National
XV is selected.
The Schools 1st XV games, top 4 teams in both the open division
and the co-ed section meet over the Friday, Saturday, Sunday
3rd to 5th September at Rotorua Boys High to contest the Barbarian
Trophys. Sky - Rugby channel will be showing these games live.
These games are the final of the nationwide knockout competition
played during the year within normal inter schools rugby.
Being "school" based the support from fellow pupils
is high and makes for an exciting setting for the competition.
We would urge all members to support these games. Come to
Rotorua and see some outstanding Rugby.