There is something about local derbies.
Everton v Liverpool, Brazil v Argentina, Southern Steel v Tactix, North Otago v South Canterbury.
One of the most fiercely contested of all plays out at 1.30pm today when the first XVs of St Kevin’s College and Waitaki Boys’ High School go to battle.
Winning means bragging rights for 12 months, regardless of what plays out during the rest of the Otago premier schools season.
The two teams look evenly matched going into this year’s game.
Waitaki Boys’ captain Oliver Kinzett, who was in the 2017 Leo O’Malley Memorial Trophy-winning team but missed last year’s game with injury, said playing in the Blood Match was a “surreal feeling”.
“It is always a good intensity, with both sides fighting for everything,” Oliver said.
“Watching was actually harder than playing – it was tough last year.”
In the midst of the hype, St Kevin’s captain Jerome Misiloi said his side was trying to remain focused on the game.
“I think the rest of the school is more nervous than us.”
Winning last year, and breaking a run of three Waitaki Boys’ victories, was one of the best moments of his life.
“It was unreal; no words could describe it.”
Waitaki Boys’ coach Wayne Kinzett said it was impossible to completely escape the hype.
“You have to be [pumped] because it is the whole town – their grandfathers and aunts and whoever.
“The hardest part for the kids is not getting tied up in that, and treating it like another game.”
St Kevin’s coach Robbie Breen said the interschool match was always a huge occasion.
“For a lot of these boys, it is the biggest crowd they will play in front of.
“It is a special day and has turned into a special part of Oamaru’s history.”
The game starts at 1.30pm at Whitestone Contracting Stadium.
St Kevin’s v WBHS – The teams
Waitaki Boys’ High School
Daniel Baxter, Alejo Linaires, Isaia Fairu, Marshall Palmer, Harry Campbell, William Knight, Jacob Pledger, Oliver Kinzett (C), Fiula Taumeilau, Mason James, Kadin Turner, Semisi Kaufusi, Ben Paton (VC), Taine Stirling, Norman Dennison, Kase Rawson, Soaki Luitui, Handre Van Basten, Jack Dunshea, Tema Tevoa, Sosaia Fonua, Timothy Poasa. Coaches: Wayne Kinzett, Mark Wilson
St Kevin’s College
Tupou Fifita, Henry Guerin, Leonard Varu, Watson Tuapati, Avish Raj, Anthony Docherty, Henry Kay, Paea Fifita (VC), Locky Collins, Marc Boardman, Saluni Palaa, Jerome Misiloi (C), Frano Flannery (VC), Bailey Howell, Josh Eckhold, Lachie Brookes, Flyriver Tuamafai, TBC, Isaac Eathorne, Isaac Clunie, Caleb Abrahams, Seth Humphries, Coach: Robbie Breen.