Forty games played for 40 wins was a magnificent dividend for the victorious Feilding High School team which won the first national schoolgirls knockout competition yesterday.
In the televised top-four final at FMG Stadium, Feilding rolled to a 22-5 win over a bigger Auckland Girls' Grammar School side in atrocious conditions, with heavy rain and wind.
Feilding capitalised on having the buffeting westerlies behind them in the first half and virtually sewed it up when they led 22-0 at halftime.
They played smart rugby, kicking and chasing and keeping the pressure on the Auckland girls.
Then they turned and battled into the conditions, Auckland using their giant No 8 Amber Hall and even getting niggly as they realised the final was gone.
Hall did get over the line, but otherwise the Feilding tackling was desperate.
Had it not been for the saturated conditions, Feilding would have finished off the many overlaps they created.
Their standout players were the loose trio of Deirdre Roberts, Zoe Whatarau and Amy Cokayne as well as halfback Danielle Chaplin with her kicking and the five-eighths, Hayley Hutana and Crystal Mayes.
Coach Robert Jones said all but seven of the squad would be back next year, leaving the core of the team intact.
In their 40 games this season, which included sevens matches and tours to the north and the South Island, Feilding scored 336 tries, 2061 points and conceded just 103.
"We had a good team spirit and team belief," Jones said.
"It is like a family at the moment. Auckland Grammar has twice as many girls as us."
He put a lot of credit for the success down to his co-coaches Ian Cokayne and Dave Whatarau but Jones too had done wonders with the Feilding girls.
In the third-fourth playoff, Southland Girls' High School beat Manurewa's James Cook High School 26-15.
Feilding High's boys' first XV couldn't get a win in their national co-ed top-four finals at Rotorua.
On Friday they were beaten 26-3 by St Andrew's College (Christchurch) and yesterday lost their third-fourth playoff 28-8 to Cambridge High school. Both games were against bigger opponents.
On Friday the match was played in slippery conditions and it was even until halftime, but the St Andrew's defence was too good. Last year Feilding had beaten St Andrew's for third place.
Feilding went well at times yesterday only to fall off the pace and were out-scored three tries to one.
SCORERS Feilding HS 22 (Ana Wiperi, Deirdre Roberts, Amy Cokayne, Zoe Whatarau, tries; Hayley Hutana con) Auckland Girls' Grammar School 5 (Amber Hall try) HT 22-0
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