Old Boys returns to winning ways

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After two consecutive losses, Old Boys is back in the winner’s circle.

Old Boys narrowly beat Athletic Marist 19›17 at Whitestone Contracting Stadium on Saturday, the game bringing a close to the first round of the Citizens Shield.

It was a tough encounter and the two teams were neck-and-neck for most of the match.
Athies got on the board first, in the 29th minute, to take a 7-0 lead. Just before halftime, Junior Fakatoufifita scored for Old Boys to level the scores 7-7.

After the break, Old Boys Hooker Lenny Varu was yellow› carded and Athies went up 14-7. But, as always, Old Boys fought back, through tries to Tini Feke and Tevita Asi to win 19-17.

Old Boys coach Lemi Masoe said he was proud of his team for sticking with it for the full 80 minutes.

‘‘The never-give-up sort of attitude,’’ Masoe said.

He felt the game was played evenly from both teams, and praised Athies for challenging Old Boys.

‘‘Both teams really took their chances right from the start to the last minute.’’

Old Boys fullback Logan Wilson suffered a season› ending injury during the game, the 19-year-old fracturing his C4 and T4 vertebrae. He was cared for by both teams’ physiotherapists, Philippa Masoe and Kerry Whitburn, before being stretchered off the field and taken to Oamaru Hospital by ambulance. He was later flown to Christchurch.

On Monday, Logan’s father, Mark, said his son was doing well and was expected to make a full recovery.

‘‘It’s all good positive news.’’

He heaped praise on Philippa and Whitburn for their support at the game.

In the May 5 games, which were played on the Thursday night to allow country players to head away for duck-shooting, Maheno beat Excelsior 39-20 and Valley beat Kurow 24-14.

Conditions were less than ideal in Maheno, as thick fog covered the field for most of the match, making it hard for players and spectators to see.

Maheno led 13-6 at the break, and played a strong second half, led by halfback Robbie Smith, to run away with the win.

Valley avenged last year’s Citizens Shield final loss to Kurow. The two were level 7-7 at halftime, and Kurow scored first in the second half to take a 14-7 lead. But Valley went on to score two more converted tries and a Isaac Clunie penalty to claim the win.

TOMORROW

The second round of the Citizens Shield gets under way tomorrow.

Centennial Park will play host to two matches — Athies v Kurow on the main field, and Old Boys v Maheno on the back field.

Athies had the perfect start to the season, pipping reigning champion Kurow 34-26 at home. Kurow then went on a three› game winning streak, until it lost to Valley last week.

Athies has been very competitive this season and can take confidence from its first round wins against Kurow and Maheno, and solid performance against Old Boys.

Old Boys beat Maheno 50-26 in the first game of the season. Old Boys had a lull in the middle of the first round, but after last week’s win, players will be keen to push on.

Maheno has pushed teams this season and players will be pleased to have got on the board last week.

Masoe said Maheno was getting stronger each week and the whole competition had evened out.

‘‘Every team is strong,’’ Masoe said.

‘‘You’ve got to bring your best on Saturdays, otherwise you’re going to come second. Every game is a final, really.’’

In Weston, Valley hosts Excelsior. Valley had a big 43-8 win over Blues in the first round, where Asesela Ravuvu and Isaac Clunie had strong debuts for the country club.

Valley has continued to improve throughout the season and will be on a high after beating Kurow last week.

Excelsior has shown glimpses of what it is capable of, especially in its win against Old Boys, and will want to improve from its first outing against Valley.

WAITAKI WAHINE

The Waitaki Wahine’s season got under way with a tough 53-7 loss against University on Saturday.

The Wahine got off to great start, with first five Cheyenne Cunningham converting her own try for a 7-0 lead 10 minutes in.

From there, the Wahine conceded nine unanswered tries and were unable to stop University.

It was still a solid first outing in which many players made their debuts for the Wahine, including American imports Colleen Carroll and Lora Matway.

The Wahine plays Dunedin tomorrow at Kettle Park, in Dunedin. Kick off is at 2.45pm.

SECONDARY SCHOOL

Waitaki Boys’ High School and St Kevin’s College’s seasons officially get under way tomorrow.

Both first XVs are lining upin the Otago Schools Rugby Championship’s division one this season.

Waitaki Boys’ has a tough match first up, against Otago Boys’ High School first XV at Waitaki Boys’ Don Field. St Kevin’s also has a home game, against King’s High School first
XV. Both games kick off at 1pm.