Semi-final time for high school First XVs

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St Kevin’s College and Waitaki Boys’ High School will be looking to secure themselves a place in the Bowl final of the Highlanders First XV top eight competition tomorrow.

St Kevin’s will play host to Mt Aspiring at Murray Field with the two sides finishing fifth and eight respectively while Waitaki entertain Menzies College at Milner Park in the opposite semi-final fixture.

SKC will be looking to bounce back from last Saturday’s 53-5 mauling at the hands of unbeaten Otago Boys’ High in Dunedin, but Mt Aspiring will also be eager to right their wrongs after losing out 26-7 to Menzies in the last weekend of round-robin play.

Despite Mt Aspiring remaining win-less, St Kevin’s coach Justin Fowler is expecting a tough clash against the Wanaka side.

“I would think the fact that they had a lost last week will provide them with some extra motivation to play well this week,” he said.

“Despite not winning a game in the top eight section of the competition so far, they have everything to play for with a victory on Saturday meaning they would finish in the top six of the competition, which seems a little strange but that is the way the competition is structured.”

Fowler said he is expecting Mt Aspiring to be effective at the breakdown and is hoping to have a full squad to chose from.

“Mt Aspiring are very good at the breakdown and their game previously has been based around keeping the ball close to the ruck and hammering the fringes. I would expect they will continue to play that style on Saturday (tomorrow),” he said.

“We have trained reasonably well this week but we have three boys that are carrying injuries that have prevented them taking a full part in training, we are hopeful that all three will be fit for Saturday.”

Waitaki were convincingly beaten 38-3 by a well organised Southland Boys’ outfit at Milner Park last weekend and will hope to salvage what has been an inconsistent campaign.

Coach Ryan Bambry is expecting a physically demanding tie and will be missing Logan Searle from his starting line-up after the dynamic centre broke his hand last weekend.

“We’re in for a huge physical challenge and our boys simply need to get amongst it,” said Bambry.

“Menzies won the exact corresponding fixture in Oamaru last year so they wont be afraid whatsoever of coming up here, we have a specific plan in place and need to implement it well if we are to win.”

Saturday’s fixtures;

Waitaki Boys’ High School vs Menzies College, Milner Park, 1pm.

St Kevin’s College vs Mt Aspiring College, Murray Field, 1pm.

By JAMES FORD

PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Waitaki will be without Logan Searle tomorrow after the centre broke his hand last weekend.