MBC on charge for semi at home

The chance to host a home semifinal is the major carrot for the Marlborough Boys' College 1st XV ahead of their penultimate Press Cup top eight clash against Christ's College in Christchurch tomorrow.

As it stands, the NZ King Salmon MBC side sit third in the top eight of the Crusaders Region Secondary Schools competition.

However, if they can knock over fifth-placed Christ's and finish with a victory at home against winless, bottom-placed side St Thomas' College, there is a strong chance MBC will get to host a semifinal on their own front field.

Nelson College are second but have a tough finish to the top eight, away to defending champions Christchurch Boys' High School and home against competition front-runners St Bede's College.

Despite the absence of five players at Crusaders camps in Christchurch, MBC assistant coach Marty Vercoe said his side had trained well during the two-week break and were well aware of the importance of tomorrow's match. He also had no doubts the players were back in the right place mentally to face a "solid all-round" Christ's College outfit. "We haven't beaten them for a few years down there and an away game is actually not the worst thing after a break because once the boys get on the bus, they know what they are there for.

"The boys are very focused and motivated, and when we have done well this year we've just focused on our own game."

Another positive for MBC tomorrow is they will carry a full-strength team into a Press Cup match for the first time this year.

The return of lock Josh Sutherland, who comes on to the bench after a long injury layoff, brings MBC back to their full complement. Prop Bevan Moody also returns after being unavailable for MBC's narrow loss to St Bede's College, meaning Abe Rood goes back to hooker and Sekope Lopeti can move back to No 8.

George Kenny, No 8 against St Bede's, will come off the bench, taking the spot of unavailable front-rower Israel Hebberd.

MBC's backs remain unchanged.

The Marlborough Express