Timaru Boys' High School face Christ's College in Crusaders schools semi

Timaru Boys' School High School captain Cullen Grace has led by example this season. Grace is pictured on his way to ...
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/FAIRFAX NZ

Timaru Boys' School High School captain Cullen Grace has led by example this season. Grace is pictured on his way to scoring against Christchurch Boys' High School earlier in the season.

Timaru Boys' High School First XV will face Christ's College in the Crusaders Schools Championship semifinal on Saturday.

At the end of the 14 rounds TBHS finished third, with defending champions Christchurch Boys' High School coming out in top spot.

It means Christchurch Boy's will host fourth placed Nelson College in the other semi-final, both of which be held in Christchurch.

It is the fourth time TBHS have made the semifinals since the competitions inception in 2001, but have arguably their best shot at making the final for the first time.

While TBHS have lost to the three other semifinalists, all the games have been close.

TBHS drew the bye in the final round so had to await other results to see where they would finish.

St Andrew' College' upset 43-42 Nelson, after Nelson led 35-14, allowing TBHS to finish third.

They were beaten 28-15 by Christ's in their inter-school in May, but the score flattered the private school, which has former All Black Reuben Thorne as their coach.

 TBHS's fine season has come on the back of an excellent pack, led by Cullen Grace.

Grace, prop Thomas Edwards, hooker Melvin Pauni and loose forward Finlay Grace all made the Crusader Junior Knights this season, while No.8 Maka Mafileo has also been a stand out.

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TBHS under rated backline has a solid core with midfielders Monty Nixon and Brad Cvitanich, while Caleb McNoe is a handy halfback,

The side will also be waiting to see if first five Dean Andrews is passed fit after an injury plagued season.

TBHS coach Gavin Miller said he had no strong preference on who they played in the semis.

"There is very little between the sides, so we weren't worried.

"At semifinal time they are all strong sides so their is nowhere to hide."

The good news for TBHS is Christs and CBHS have both had some indifferent form over the past couple of weeks.

Miller has been in the same position before, guiding TBHS to the semis in both 2007 and 2008.

The closest they came to making the final was in 2007, when they went down 15-13 to St Bedes.

TBHS also made it 2014 but were over run by CBHS, who cruised to the title.

CBHS are the most successful school, having won the title on nine of the 16 occasions.

Nelson have won it once, back in 2007, while Christs have never been champions.

Roncalli finished their tough season with a 50-19 loss to St Bedes in Timaru. 

The smallest team in the UC Championship did however manage to avoid the wooden spoon thanks to their comprehensive 40-14 win over Burnside in the penultimate round.

Roncalli played well in patches on Saturday but basic errors proved costly especially at lineout time.

Down 26-6 at the break, it was a better second half performance.

Roncalli's best were hard running lock Siale Siale and second five Inia Inia Kolinsau, who also grabbed a try.

First five Ben Thomson had a tidy game but was in excellent goal kicking form landing five from six, with four penalties and a conversion. 

St Bedes backline had a field day running in eight tries, with doubles to second five Simon Smith and right wing Siaosi Fifta.

No.8 Oli Watts and first five Kynan Stoers-Smith also had strong games for the visitors.

 

 

 - Stuff

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