Form no guide on the day

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Forget form, forget history, forget injuries, forget pressure – forget everything you can think of, basically.
The Blood Match is about the best team on the day.
When St Kevin’s College and Waitaki Boys’ High School clash in the annual First XV interschool for the 82nd time today, everything that has gone before can be discarded as soon as the whistle blows.
Time and again, the game has thrown up the dramatic, the unexpected and the extraordinary.
Case in point: last year. Waitaki Boys’ had the game in the bag at 17-0 at halftime and 34-24 with 15 minutes to play before it all went pear-shaped.
So, even though Waitaki Boys’ is having a much better season, and thumped St Kevin’s 62-0 in the competition game earlier this year, there is absolutely no point predicting a winner nor even really declaring a favourite.
St Kevin’s, in a moderate rebuilding phase after one of the best three-year periods in the school’s history, has been inconsistent this season but is hugely motivated to break new ground and win the interschool for a fourth straight time.
“We’ve never done that before so that is definitely a bit of extra motivation for the boys,” captain Tarn Crow said.
“Waitaki are the form team but it’s always a completely different game on the day.”
St Kevin’s had a rocky start to the season but has shown some promising signs in recent weeks and is fresh off a good win over Kavanagh College.
Levi Emery has been the shining light at first five-eighth and is a massive scoring threat, while backs Folau Tokai and Antonio Misiloi and bruising forwards Kelepi Funaki, Sami Havea and Will Sunderland are capable of good things.
Significantly, St Kevin’s can also call on brilliant centre Simon Lilicama, who is ineligible to play in the weekly schools competition so is coming out of senior men’s rugby, where he is the leading try-scorer. Waitaki Boys’ has had a wonderful season, leaning on experience, size and attacking potential to
soar to second in the Otago First XV competition.
The flies in the ointment are injuries – captain Josh Hayward is out of the game and fellow loose forward Maka Mafileo and centre Funaki Lavemai were uncertain starters earlier this week – and the fact, unfair as it may be, that the season will largely be judged on today’s 80 minutes.
“The Blood Match is always full of pressure.
“Your mind-set is different,” stand-in captain Daniel Halaholo said.
“But we’re staying pretty positive. I think if we follow our structure and work as a team, we can go OK.”