St Bede's 1st XV boys monopolise Press Cup
The bad news for St Bede's College's rugby rivals is the now four-time Press Cup winners show no signs of easing up.
Ten of the side that beat Nelson College 30-12 in Saturday's final will be back next year and, with the school competing strongly in most grades this season, the future looks promising.
Saturday's win caps off another unbeaten Press Cup season for St Bede's – their second in the past three years – and means they've now won 57 of their last 58 Press Cup games.
The only blight on their recent record was an away loss to Nelson last year, for which they made up on Saturday.
Coach Mark Vincent said the school rugby committee's emphasis on coaching and development was a big reason behind the school's success, while first XV captain Shayne Anderson said the expectation of excellence among players played a big part, too.
However, there's little chance to celebrate their win; there's still plenty of hard work to do.
Just 21 hours after beating Nelson College, Vincent and co-coach Gerry Davidson had their team training ahead of this weekend's southern region playoff game.
St Bede's will this Saturday play Otago Boys' High School in Dunedin for a place in the national Top 4 competition in Rotorua.
They will have to do it without openside Luke Roberts, who broke his leg in the last minutes of Saturday's win. Vincent said it was always hard to refocus so soon after reaching one of the side's "big goals", but he was confident they could recreate Saturday's gutsy performance.
They were too strong for Nelson, in what Vincent described as a "not much of a classic game".
"I would imagine that as a spectator it wasn't the best game; there were some nerves and it was a bit like finals can be, lots of pressure and a bit of a tough battle.
"But the boys did well. Not everything they tried worked, but we created opportunities and at critical times, we scored points."
The home side had a wealth of possession and spent the bulk of the game in Nelson's half.
Their forwards recycled the ball quickly, allowing their dangerous backs quick, go-forward ball. They took the wrong option a couple of times, but speed and numbers out wide prevailed.Nelson clearly weren't used to being behind and lacked imagination, but also opportunities, and when they did attack, the St Bede's defence was impressive. Anderson did a power of work at centre, while the wingers did well to finish their tries. Lock Misimoa Lamositele and blindside flanker Billy Harmon impressed too.
For Nelson College, openside Steve Soper was impressive and bullocking prop Connor McKinnin-Stevenson's runs were well worth watching.
St Bede's 30 (Jesse Bryant 2, Moses Faletolu, Misimoa Lamositele tries, Hagen Schulte 2 conv, 2 pens) Nelson College 12 (Latham Jones, Steven Soper tries, Mitchell Drummond conv) Ht: 13-7.