Waitaki Boys’ High School and St Kevin’s College both fell to defeats in their Highlanders First XV top eight fixtures on Saturday.
Waitaki Boys’ entertained King’s High School at Milner Park, with the intention of getting their campaign back on track after losing to Otago Boys’ two days before, but Saturday’s visitors had other ideas for a 30-17 win.
Fullback Taylor Haugh touched down for King’s inside 10 minutes before Reece Te Pairi kicked a penalty for an 8-0 advantage.
Quickfire tries then came from wing Luke Maker and Haugh to complete his brace and an 18-0 half time score line.
Waitaki looked lethargic as King’s looked to capitalise on possession and halfback Joel Mead was next to touch down for the visitors before Piliu Tavake’s try registered Waitaki’s first points of the day.
Powerhouse prop Himiona Wilson returned fire for King’s and Te Pairi converted to round off King’s scoring for the day.
WBHS hit back with two more tries through Inoke Nafahu and Loni Fisihoi but couldn’t close the deficit.
Coach Ryan Bambry said his side looked tired following the quick turnaround of fixtures but praised his players’ second half efforts.
“Tired first half performance yesterday (Saturday), only two days after Otago Boys’,” he said.
“(It was) disappointing to have to play, but we don’t make the draw. (We) just weren’t quite there to begin with in the first half and against a team like King’s, every moment matters.
“(We were) monstered in the set piece again, so we’ll have to have another think there.
“(I’m) proud of the guts they showed in second half and hopefully a complete 70-minute performance is around the corner.”
St Kevin’s College travelled to Invercargill and were soundly beaten 55-5 by Southland Boys’ High, who now sit in second place on the points table.
The home side started well but SKC’s defence stood firm for all but one try.
Justin Fowler’s team had the lion’s share of possession and created a fine team effort try for wing Connor Newlands to score in the corner but some wayward penalty kicking allowed Southland to take a 7-5 advantage in to the break.
Fowler said the home side’s second half performance was exceptional as the southerners notched 48 points without reply.
“The second half from Southland was one of the best halfs of rugby from one side that I think I have ever seen,” he said.
“They went up several levels and they shut us out of the game.
“They denied us the ball and controlled the game very well. We were never in it in the second half. The weight of possession and their physically bigger side were too much for us and they ran away with the game.”
Waitaki Boys’ will be Wanaka-bound onSaturday to take on Mt Aspiring College, while St Kevin’s take on King’s in Dunedin.
Highlanders First XV top eight championship results:
Southland BHS: 55 v St. Kevin’s: 5
McGlashan: 43 v Mount Aspiring: 12
St. Peter’s College: 20 v Central Southland: 12
Gore HS: 18 v James Hargest: 15
King’s HS: 30 v Waitaki BHS: 17
South Otago HS: 36 v Dunstan HS: 17
By JAMES FORD
PHOTO: BRAYDEN LINSDAY – Try scorer Piliu Tavake on the move for Waitaki Boys’ High School at Milner Park on Saturday.