Is history about to repeat itself or is redemption on the cards?
All will be answered tomorrow when Waitaki Boys’ High School and St Kevin’s College first XVs meet in the Otago Secondary School Ritchies Cup final.
It will the second time the two Oamaru teams play this season, following Waitaki Boys’ thrilling 21-19 interschool win last month.
Waitaki Boys’ stormed into the final beating Mt Aspiring College 36-7, while St Kevin’s ground out a tenacious 16-10 win against South Otago High School.
Waitaki Boys’ coach Mark Wilson was expecting tomorrow’s match to be “one hell of a final”.
“[We’re] hugely excited and even more so that we get to play a final against our hometown rivals. It’s pretty exciting that two Oamaru schools make the final of the middle four – I think that’s a tribute to both of them,” Wilson said.
Everything would come down to Waitaki Boys’ preparation and attitude this week.
“We know that they’ll just keep coming at us, and coming at us, and they’ll know the same from us.”
Waitaki Boys’ focused on the entire squad this year, not just the starting players, and the impact players could have off the bench.
That was clear when replacement halfback Liam Mavor, scored the match-winning try in the dying minutes of last month’s interschool clash.
Wilson was a firm believer that attitude helped Waitaki Boys’ reach the final.
St Kevin’s coach Justin Fowler said the team’s goal had been to make the “middle four final”, and the players were thrilled to have achieved it.
“To beat a school like South Otago, and down at their place, was bloody good,” Fowler said.
The final was tipped to be another close encounter.
“I think the last match sort of showed that we were pretty .. even. I expect it to be another close battle, and hopefully this time we can get on the right side of the [scoreboard].”
Fowler said both of the Oamaru schools punched above their weight and it was great to have an all-Waitaki district final.
“For Oamaru to get two teams in that final is a fantastic effort – really pleasing for both schools, and the district,” he said.
“A lot of hard work’s gone into both programmes and the reward’s there, I suppose.”
The final is being played on Don Field, and kicks off at 12.45pm tomorrow.