St Kevin’s College and Waitaki Boys’ High School will be in Highlanders First XV top eight action tomorrow, with both sides looking to end on high as top four finishes are now out of reach.
SKC are Dunedin-bound to take on the formidable Otago Boys’ High School, who remain undefeated this season and downed an impressive Southland Boys’ outfit 35-30 in their last outing.
Otago Boys’ coasted to a 32-12 win over Waitaki the last time they faced an Oamaru side and handed St Kevin’s a 66-10 hiding at the at the University Oval in June, but Justin Fowler’s side will look to disrupt the table-toppers’ explosive running game and maintain possession.
“We will be working hard in defence and ensuring that we do not get isolated so we can work together to bring down their runners,” said Fowler.
“On attack, we will be looking to maintain possession for long periods of play, as we look to put pressure on their defence and score points.”
SKC will finish in fifth place of the round-robin stage, despite tomorrow’s outcome, and will take comfort in a guaranteed home semi-final next weekend in the bowl competition against either Menzies College or Mt Aspiring.
Fowler said his players had trained reasonably well this week but some injury woes in the front row were still a concern.
The St Kevin’s coach said with the quality OBHS had at their disposal, the style in which they played could be determined by the conditions on the day.
“Boys’ High will be very strong, as we all know, and I would expect they have at least a couple of different ways they could play, either a wide expansive game, or a more forward dominated game,” he said.
“The weather and ground conditions may determine how they will play and it will be a case of taking them head-on as we look to put pressure on them.”
Southland will make the trip north to lock horns with Waitaki at Milner Park.
The home side will be intent on ending their season on a high following an inconsistent campaign, but locals may still be in for treat, with a Waitaki and St Kevin’s bowl final showdown still a possibility.
Coach Ryan Bambry said his players should take confidence from their last performance against Southland and that he had a full squad to chose from.
“(It’s a) tough ask, obviously, but if there’s one game we should have won this year but didn’t, it was Southland Boys’ in round one, so I’d like to think the boys will take confidence from that,” he said.
“They’re a great team with a big pack and will look to get on top there.
“They have a few trends on attack, which we are aware of. We’ll be applying a few things ourselves to try and negate their strengths so we’re looking forward to it as our boys seem to play their best against these sorts of teams.”
Waitaki Boys’ will kick off at 1pm at Milner Park, while St Kevin’s kick off at the same time at the University Oval.
By JAMES FORD
PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Otago Boys’ High School downed Waitaki 32-12 last month. St Kevin’s will be hoping to hand the Dunedin side their first loss tomorrow. Pictured is Waitaki’s Loni Fisiihoi looking on as Otago Boys’ centre Sio Tomkinson makes a run.