Coach John Simpson must have been proud of Roncalli's performance against perennial high-fliers St Bede's in the Crusaders Region Schools' Championships.
With 15 minutes left to play Roncalli still harboured the outside chance of scoring the biggest upset of the season before finally succumbing 25-8 in Christchurch.
The Roncalli forward pack put together their best performance of the season outplaying St Bedes in set pieces and across the park throughout the first half.
Led by their three loosies Luke Cody, Liam Cosgrove and Adam Matheson they created numerous turnovers and spoiled the opposition and were probably unlucky to go into the halftime break down 8-3.
When the second half started it was obvious that the St Bede's coach had used a red hot poker at halftime as there was certainly more fire in his pack, but again the Roncalli boys lifted to match the increased intensity.
While Roncalli's first half dominance up front was negated, their defence continued to work well as they held out the St Bede's attacks, but as in previous weeks the boys battled to create points from their own opportunities.
Momentum swings are a feature of rugby, and it was no different for Roncalli who were on attack well inside the St Bede's half when one of their players got a toe to the ball. Instead of trying to pick the ball up it was continuously toed ahead and in the end a try scored from 70m out to break the shackles.
St Bede's followed this up with another converted try soon after and the Roncalli challenge was repulsed.
As so often happens in sport, team performances lift according to the opposition, and after their best all round performance of the season, Roncalli now need to take that performance and repeat it against lesser teams and turn the "what ifs" into positives and start by winning their next match, against Waimea, at home.
- The Timaru Herald