Waitaki Boys’ High School coach Wayne Kinzett could not fault his players for effort as they fell short of a fairytale win in the Otago First XV final last Saturday.
Waitaki tried and failed for a third time this season to beat a powerful John McGlashan College side, losing 23-0 at Forsyth Barr Stadium after trailing 18-0 at halftime.
“We just didn’t get enough ball, especially in the first half,” Kinzett said.
“When we did get ball, we turned it over very quickly through errors. They probably beat us in the tight five with a lot of pick and goes, and we weren’t able to stop that.
“In the second half, we were all over them but we just couldn’t cross the line.”
McGlashan, which now gets to challenge powerhouse Otago Boys’ High School, proved it was the better side, Kinzett said.
But he said Waitaki could look back on the competition with satisfaction.
“I’m proud of the boys. We’ve had an excellent season but we just faltered at the last hurdle.”
Dynamic loose forward Sailosi Vea and partner-in-crime Josh Hayward were again two stars for Waitaki, while livewire halfback Kieran McClea did his best to get the backline moving.
Kinzett understood several Waitaki players were in line for selection in Otago representative teams, a bonus for his young men as North Otago was not fielding an under-18 side this season.
He said playing under the roof in Dunedin was a “fantastic” experience.
“We were driving down there, and the weather wasn’t too sharp, but we didn’t need to worry about it.
“It was very cool. We prefer a hard surface too.”
Waitaki players now have a break before their final game of the season, the annual interschool against Timaru Boys’ High School.
The game is in Timaru this year and maintains what is believed to be the longest continuous interschool fixture in the southern hemisphere.
“It’s a big one for us, and it is for them as well,” Kinzett said.
“We managed to tip them over last year for the first time in ages, so I dare say they’ll be looking for payback.”