Feilding grab last-minute triumph over Wairarapa
There was high drama at Wairarapa College yesterday when Feilding High School 1st XV fullback Vilimoni Koroi won their match with a try in the last play of the game.
Feilding won 17-12 after the scores in the national co-ed knockout match were tied at 12-all with the clock ticking.
All looked lost, with Wairarapa set to repeat their upset win of the first round last year at Feilding, when they led 12-5 yesterday with five minutes remaining.
Feilding had to play all but two minutes of the match with 14 men, with six backs, after first-five Liam Scott was red-carded for a tip-tackle.
"The boys showed a lot of character, huge courage," said coach Sam Moore. "We defended very well which is hard with 14 men."
After 15 minutes Feilding also lost their captain, prop Max Fryatt, with a shoulder injury and he was sent to hospital as a precaution. He had been having a stormer.
There was feeling in the game following last year's clash.
Wairarapa had a big, abrasive pack. "We knew they'd be tough," Moore said.
"The boys came here fully prepared. We're not big enough to bash our way over teams."
Tacking into a hefty breeze in the first half, it was 0-all at halftime and the penalty count against Feilding was large. Later they also had tries disallowed for close forward passes.
Fortunately they had a player of the class of wing Luther Hirini who blasted through three Wairarapa forwards to score under the posts and tie it up.
Then Koroi made a brilliant run down the sideline to score the winner in the corner.
Wairarapa appeared to get flustered as Feilding were furiously attacking at the end and did not use their numerical advantage in the backs. Had the scores stayed locked, Wairarapa would have advanced through being the first scorers.
Next up for Feilding is likely to be Wanganui Collegiate School.
On Saturday they play their final Central competition game at Feilding against winless St John's College (Hastings), needing a win to reach the semifinals, and four tries to make certain of it.
Feilding HS 17 (Luther Hirini 2, Vilimoni Koroi, tries; Tom Stewart con) Wairarapa College 12 (2 tries, con). Halftime: 0-all.