St Bede's off to good start in defence of Press Cup
St Bede's College made a strong start to the defence of the Press Cup with a 31-5 win against a doughty Ashburton College, in Ashburton, on Saturday.
St Bede's has three tough games ahead – against St Andrew's College, Timaru Boys' High School and Christchurch Boys' High School – and Saturday's game tested the St Bede's forwards.
"We were expecting good things from them [Ashburton]," said co-coach, Gerry Davidson. "We heard they played well in their pre-season games and they delivered on Saturday."
St Bede's were 14-0 up at the interval.
Ten of the successful team from last year are back in the St Bede's squad this year but they will not get a home game until the fifth round. Their first three games are away and the fourth game will be at Rugby Park, part of the St Bede's centennial celebrations, on May 26.
Meanwhile, one of the school's stars last year, Yoshikazu Fujita, from Japan has moved on to bigger things. He made his debut on Saturday for Japan in a 106-3 rout of the United Arab Emirates in Fukuoka, Fujita's home city. Fujita scored 16 tries in eight games for St Bede's last year.
St Andrew's College scored with a last minute converted try to take the lead for the first time in the match and beat Roncalli College 29-27 in Timaru.
St Andrew's were stunned by Roncalli who were up 14-0 after 15 minutes. They still led 27-17 with three minutes left but St Andrew's scored a try and from the kickoff the St Andrew's first five-eighth, Richie Mo'unga, ran 50m to score in the corner and converted his own try for a dramatic win. Nelson College started their campaign with a comfortable 41-0 win against Burnside High School.
Results of first round matches in The Press Cup:
Northern section: Nelson College 41 Burnside HS 0, Christ's College 61 Nayland College 0, Christchurch BHS 55 Waimea College 13. Shirley BHS v Marlborough Boys' College to be played Tuesday at Shirley BHS.
Southern section: St Bede's College 31 Ashburton College 5, St Andrew's College 29 Roncalli College 27, Timaru BHS 39 Lincoln HS 7, St Thomas' College 8 Rangiora HS 3.