St Pats Town rallied from a 17-7 deficit to steal a controversial victory with the last play in today's Old Boys' Centennial Shield match against Wellington College.
For the first hour the 130th tradition fixture was a lousy affair, with one pupil from Wellington College remarking "gee, this is a boring game." Both teams struggled to adapt to the vicious southerly as dropped balls, ill-discipline and poor tactics dominated proceedings.
Wellington College was initially the better side though, with Francois Swart kicking four penalties, and bulky first-five Tamati Hauraki-Tyrell barging over the line for a try to give Wellington a comfortable 17-0 lead.
Town was forced to replace prop Jaziah Iona who was injured in a scrum, as well as second-five Korvarn Togiatama with a shoulder injury as things threatened to unravel.
Just before halftime St Pats' Penieli Poasa took a quick tap and scored a try after making a rare venture into the Wellington 22. Zac Donaldson converted and the score was 17-7 at the break.
Town turned with the wind, but did little with it. Wellington made a series of half-breaks but they too failed to develop as the second-half stagnated.
But Town Fullback Siosaia Paese was the spark of Town's revival. The National Secondary Schools' 100 and 200 meters sprinting champion made a break to commence an attack and, finally, the passes stuck and winger Kerrod Foaese crossed in the corner. Donaldson kicked a brilliant conversion and it was 17-14 with a few minutes left
From the kickoff, Town won two penalties to get into the Wellington 22. Their big forwards drew in the Wellington defence with a series of pick and goes, before an overlap was created. The ball was passed hurriedly through the backs. Paese took the ball and cut back inside and as he was tackled he stretched and bounced the ball down. The referee and the touch judge consulted and a try was awarded.
Did Paese ground the ball? That will be discussed for years to come, but Town are this years' winners of the traditional for the first time since 2006.
St Pat's Town 19 (Penieli Poasa, Kerrod Foaese, Siosaia Paese tries; Zac Donaldson 2 con) Wellington College 17 (Tamati Hauraki-Tyrell try; Francois Swart 4 pen). HT: 7-17.
- The Dominion Post
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