Late charge takes St Kevin’s to title

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St Kevin’s College rugby players have conquered Oamaru, and they are now the co-ed kings of Otago.

Next step is winning the Highlanders title, before having a crack at the South Island championship.

St Kevin’s showed real courage and composure to come from behind and beat South Otago High School 21-20 in the Otago schools co-ed final in Balclutha on Saturday.

“That was probably our most pleasing victory of the year, to be honest,” coach Robbie Breen said.

“It was an ugly old game but we found a way to get there.”

It did not look good with 20 minutes to go as South Otago, always hard to beat at home, led 20-7.

But St Kevin’s regrouped nicely and roared home with two tries to steal a one-point win.

Captain Eli Winders produced another lion-hearted effort to inspire the forward pack, while No8 Samuela Babiau had a big influence on the final quarter.

Josh Eckhold also had a big impact off the bench when he entered the game at fullback, Breen said.

St Kevin’s now plays Gore High School in the Highlanders co-ed final in Oamaru this weekend.

The winner of that plays Rangiora High School in the South Island final.

“At the start of the year, we said making the South Island co-ed final would dictate whether we’d had a good season,” Breen said.

“We’re almost there.”

Meanwhile, Waitaki Boys’ High School played well but had virtually no luck in its knockout semifinal against Otago Boys’ High School in Dunedin.

A 43-0 scoreline was hard to digest because his young fellows had played so well, Waitaki Boys’ coach Wayne Kinzett lamented.

Brothers in black . . . Waitaki Boys’ High School First XV players Bayley Sullivan (left) and Jack Willans reflect on their loss to Otago Boys’ High School in Dunedin on Saturday. PHOTO: CASWELL IMAGES

“I was very proud of them,” Kinzett said.

“We dominated possession, we dominated territory, we cleaned up in the lineouts, and we smashed them in the scrum.

“Unfortunately, we got over the line five or six times but had three or four very solid shouts for tries ruled out, and Otago Boys’ were just too strong when they bust us open.”

Waitaki Boys’ can throw everything into its final game of the season, the annual interschool with Timaru Boys’ High School in Timaru on Wednesday.