Girls' High's only loss comes in final
Southland Girls' High School fell over at the final hurdle yesterday in the New Zealand secondary schools rugby final but they still departed Palmerston North very proud of their efforts after going one step better than in 2012.
Southland Girls' were this season yet again crowned South Island champions and, as a result, for the second year in a row, progressed to the national schoolgirls' top-four finals in Palmerston North.
Last year, they finished third after being knocked over by eventual winners Feilding High School in the semifinals.
This year they booked themselves a birth in the final after beating Tamaki College 32-20 on Friday in the semifinal.
But again it was Feilding who stood in the way of the Southland school's shot at national glory, with Fielding winning the final 29-12.
Feilding had the job done by halftime, when they led 29-5, to deliver the Southland girls their sole loss of the year.
Southland Girls' can take heart from their second-half performance, which they won 7-0.
Southland Girls' coach Nathan Muir said while they were not able to get their hands on the Hine Pounamu Trophy, he couldn't fault the effort of the players.
"The girls battled really well and, after going down early like we did, they played really well in the second half, and to keep them scoreless was great."
Muir said the top-four finals series was great to be part of and had been a real boost for girls rugby since it was introduced for the first time last year.
"The Rugby Girls Foundation do a great job, the Manawatu Rugby Union do a great job, it's a really well-run tournament. We have a tournament dinner, we get to use the training fields at the Massey Institute of Sport. We're very well looked-after."
With the bulk of the Southland Girls' team returning next year, they are already looking forward to trying to get back to the top-four finals next year, and potentially winning it.
"For instance, we'll only lose one from the backline and three starters in the forwards. It was a good experience for these girls to see what the expectations are and what the standard is."
Feilding High School 29 (Makenzie Nuku 2, Lauren Basillie 2, Amy Cokayne, tries; Hayley Hutana 2 con),Southland Girls' High School 12 (Laura Buckingham, Aleni Saili tries; Jacqui Chamberlain con). HT 29-5.
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