Waitaki Boys’ High School and St Kevin’s College will lock horns in the Highlanders First XV Bowl competition final at Murray Field tomorrow.
Both sides played their semi-final fixtures at home last weekend after St Kevin’s finished in fifth place on the round-robin points table while Waitaki’s level points tally with Menzies College meant that their victory over the Wyndham side secured a Milner Park showdown.
WBHS toppled Menzies 36-26, following a highly impressive first half display that saw the home side notch three tries for a comfortable 22-9 lead at half time.
Menzies rallied in the second period with three tries of their own but could not bridge the gap last Saturday.
Waitaki coach Ryan Bambry said his players are looking forward to the contest against St Kevin’s but insisted the two defeats earlier in the campaign would not be the focus.
“(The) boys are looking forward to (the) match,” he said.
“No pressure on us like (the) blood (match) so hopefully they’ll respond better, It’s not about revenge, we’d all rather win the blood (match) by one point than win on Saturday (tomorrow) by 100, so everything is about trying to get fifth (place) in what has been a strong league.
“Of course we’d love to beat them,but it will require an enormous effort but the boys are up to it.”
St Kevin’s secured their final place with a sterling performance against Mt Aspiring at Murray Field for a 55-15 win.
SKC took a slender 13-10 lead in to the break after a tightly contested first half, in-which points from halfback Brodie Flannery proved the difference, but the home side’s second half display could not be question with 42 unanswered points.
Coach Justin Fowler said his team had trained well this week and have the extra motivation of producing the school’s finest overall campaign in the competition’s history.
“The boys have trained reasonably well this week and are looking forward to another match against Waitaki. There is no doubt there is an extra edge to any game against Waitaki and this Saturday (tomorrow) will be no different, especially as it is a final,” he said.
“As a team, we are aware that if we win on Saturday it will be the best result for any St Kevin’s team in the Fulton Hogan Highlander’s 1st XV competition and that is providing some extra motivation for us.”
Fowler said injuries within the squad have been managed with the hope of a full strength side for tomorrow’s encounter and is expecting a tough contest against their local rivals.
“We still have a few players carrying injuries and we are managing their recovery and training this week in an attempt to have them ready to play on Saturday,” he said.
“I am sure Waitaki will play with plenty of commitment and courage, as they normally do and they will be looking to create opportunities that they can score from.
“They have a number of threats and I am sure they will be looking to get the ball to these players. We will be looking to limit these opportunities for Waitaki while creating our own, hopefully it is a fine day and the conditions are suitable for some exciting rugby.”
St Kevin’s College vs Waitaki Boys’ High School, Murray Field, 1pm.
By JAMES FORD
PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Meli Kolinisau charges through St Kevin’s skipper Jacob Coghlan during the ‘blood match’ in July.