Southland Boys' short of a gallop for semi
Southland Boys' High School head into today's Highlanders first XV semifinal fresh after playing just two games since June 29.
They play Dunstan High School at Les George Oval near Invercargill in one semifinal while Dunedin schools Otago Boys' High School and King's High meet in the other.
There were changes to the competition format this year, which saw a southern and northern pool formed.
The top four teams progressed to a top-eight championship round while the other teams went into a plate division.
In the top-eight section, teams were not required to take on teams they had already played in pool play.
It meant Southland Boys' did not take on Dunstan High School or Menzies College in the championship round.
Earlier in the season they had played King's High and Waitaki Boys' High School in traditional inter-school fixtures that also counted towards the championship round points.
It has all resulted in limited game time for Southland Boys' in recent weeks, which coach Marty Smith said wasn't ideal in the leadup to the semifinals.
While they probably lacked match fitness, they had ramped up the intensity at training to counter it.
Southland Boys' High School is the only Southland school in the semifinals of the championship round and hopes to progress to yet another Highlanders first XV final.
If the team progressed to the decider, it would likely be against Otago Boys', the hot favourites to beat King's High.
Southland Boys' 12-10 loss to Otago Boys' was their sole blemish to date this season and they hope to have another shot at the Dunedin school.
The winners of the Highlanders first XV competition will go on to play the winners of the Press Cup, which is the competition for schools in the Crusaders region.
Marlborough Boys' High School play Nelson College in the Press Cup final in Blenheim today.
- © Fairfax NZ News