UC Championship Round 10 Wrap
BY JONTY DINE [Nelson App]
The Moascar Cup will remain in Nelson for another week after Nelson College saw off a strong challenge from St Thomas in the UC Championship today.
Nelson survived an early onslaught to put in a dominant second half display and retain the coveted cup for an 18th successful defence.
Both sides laid down fierce hakas to set the tone for a brutal battle. Light rain began to fall just prior to kick off as the two teams made early errors in greasy conditions.
St Thomas first enjoyed the first attacking opportunity of the game, winger Montell Peppard breaking clear but with the visitors looking certain to score, they coughed up possession. However, under advantage, St Thomas turned down a gift three points and took a quick tap. First five Ted Coleman attacked the line with vigour and crashed over for the games opening try.
Nelson were under immense pressure in the opening exchanges, St Thomas’ backs cutting the College line apart.
St Thomas had the advantage of a strong breeze at their backs in the first forty, exploiting conditions well to dominate the share of territory and possession. The visitors were again awarded a regulation penalty shot, number 8 Caius Faatili making no mistake to take an 8-0 lead.
Nelson eventually strung some phases together and went hot on attack after a break by prop Luca Inch. St Thomas infringed at the ruck right in front of the posts, Nelson taking a gamble and opted to pack down a scrum.
It paid off too as Nelson’s skipper Anton Segner found himself in space on the right flank and proved too strong as he powered over for the hosts opening try. First-five Levi Carew pushed the corner conversion attempt just wide.
As the rain eased, the wind picked up which saw Nelson again camped inside their own half.
The hosts were pinged inside their own 22 for holding on, Faatili widening the gap to six points.
College looked flustered as their restart didn’t make the ten, while second five Louis Carmine was replaced by Daniel Rogers after suffering a head knock.
The hosts had moments of brilliance in the half but were lacking patience, a forward pass with an overlap out wide ending a sloppy first forty for the holders.
Nelson charged a box kick immediately after the resumption of the second, Lock Taya Brown bursting through the defence from the turnover. Some slick passing again put Segner one on one out wide and the number 8 steamrolled over for a brace. Carew’s valiant attempt fell just short as College trailed by one.
Flanker Fergus Hughes then made the first of several storming surges to put his side within striking distance, Nelson awarded a penalty as tensions started to boil over.
Both captains were asked to calm their camps as College turned down a shot at goal and put it in the corner.
After a clean line-out take, Nelson mauled from 15 metres out, backs joining the drive as Jack McDonald-Hill rumbled over to take the lead in emphatic style.
The try clicked College into gear, the home sides big boppers Inch and replacement Isaiah Malaulau combining for a 50-metre run upfield as the hosts began to dominate the fatiguing St Thomas side.
A tight head put Nelson on attack again, Carew throwing a beautiful long pass to Connor Johnson to score their fourth.
With the result assured and the momentum firmly in the holder’s favour, College cleared their bench.
Carew capped a stellar performance at pivot with the final say off the back of a blistering bust by Hughes. He continued to kick without luck, missing his fifth conversion attempt to close the curtain on a highly entertaining and competitive college rugby clash.
Hughes was a standout in the forward pack while halfback Mason Lund sowed some classy touches in a polished performance.
Skipper Anton Segner says it was hard fought but hugely satisfying victory. "I’m really proud of the way the boys performed upfront, especially against those big boys from St Thomas.”
Anton says they were under the pump early, but his troops did well to stand up to the challenge. The inspirational captain enjoyed having family from Germany in the crowd to watch the win.
Nelson 25 (Segner 2, Johnston, McDonald-Hill, Carew, tries) v St Thomas 11 (Coleman try, Faatili 2 pens)
By SAM JOHNSON [ WCS]
Waimea Combined Schools went down against Lincoln Combined 42 - 21. Waimea were their own worst enemies through weak defence, allowing 3 tries to Lincoln in the first 25 minutes. Handling errors also cost Waimea dearly with numerous dropped balls from putting themselves under immense pressure. It wasn’t until Duncan Drysdale sliced through on the stroke of half time to score that the Baabaas felt like they were in the game.
Shortly after the break Waimea struck back again when Ryan Churchill got an interception and ran 50 metres to score to put it at 19- 14 with the conversion from Jacob Limmer. It was short lived however with Lincoln hitting back shortly after to ultimately put the win out of reach from Waimea.
By PETER JONES [Marlborough App]
The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV kept their slim hopes of reaching the top echelon of the University of Championship competition alive with a 19-17 win over Timaru Boys High School in Timaru today. With three rounds remaining MBC are currently in eighth position on a congested points table.
Other results: Christ’s College 69 Roncalli Combined 7, Rangiors HS 47 Mid Canterbury Combined 27, Christchurch BHS 28 St Andrew’s College 22, Shirley BHS 21 St Bede’s College 31.