St Kevin’s College and Waitaki Boys’ High School will be in action in the Highlanders First XV competition this weekend having both made the top eight.
SKC will host John McGlashan College at Murray Field while Waitaki are Wyndham bound to take on Menzies College.
Both sides are coming off the back of losses with WBHS falling to a tightly contested 19-14 loss to Southland Boys’ and St Kevin’s losing out 66-10 to Otago Boys’ High.
Waitaki Boys’ coach Ryan Bambry will not have a full squad to choose from but said his team will approach the upper tier of the competition in the same way as the pool stage.
“No, not quite a full squad to choose from, few injuries here and there,” he said.
“We will be approaching the next phase as we did the first. Every game we play we are there to try and win and if we continue to improve on our various weaknesses which sometimes plagued our performance in the first round then hopefully we’ll go okay.”
Bambry said he expects a tough challenge from Menzies who downed St Peter’s 19-8 last weekend and also got the better of local rivals St Kevin’s in round one.
“We are expecting a big challenge from Menzies,” he said.
“They beat St Kevin’s down there (Wyndham) in the first round which isn’t an easy feat so we know what they can do.”
Waitaki have prepared well this week and will be intent on producing 70 minutes of quality rugby.
” The Boys have trained well this week and we need to go there this weekend focused on 70 minutes against Menzies,not with any thoughts of 70minutes the following Friday or we could come unstuck,” said Bambry.
St Kevin’s points differential over South Otago High School safely saw them through to the top eight, bringing Justin Fowler’s side’s tally to five wins and two losses in the pool stage.
The homeside will be without dynamic skipper Jacob Coghlan due to a knee injury and Michael Lockley.
Fowler said the length of Coglan’s injury layoff is yet to be confirmed but hopes the flanker will play again this year.
“Nothing has been confirmed with Jacob’s injury yet,” he said.
“He is likely to be out for a while and we are hopeful he will be able to play for us again this year, Michael Lockley is still out injured.”
McGlashan handed Mt Aspiring a 47-21 loss in their last outing and Fowler is expecting a tough encounter with the Dunedin side.
“We expect McGlashan to be very tough,” he said.
“They are the top team from their pool and have only lost one game, which was against Otago Boys’ High School in their first game of the year, I expect they will be strong across the field particularly in the loose forward trio and in midfield.”
Fowler said his team will look to play to their strengths in the next phase of the competition.
“The top eight is a huge challenge for us and our approach will be the same as it has been all year,” he said.
“We will have a look at the opposition and then come up with a game plan that we think will work. There are certain areas of our game that we are stronger in than other areas and we look to use those aspects more often than not.”
Both fixtures will kick off at 1pm on Saturday.
Highlander First XV round seven results:
Menzies College 19 – 8 Saint Peter’s College.
Dunstan High School 48 – 3 James Hargest College
Southland Boys’ High School 19 – 14 Waitaki Boys’ High School
Gore High School 0 – 57 King’s High School
Mt Aspiring 21 – 47 McGlashan College
Central Southland College 0 – 87 South Otago High School
Otago Boys’ High School 66 -10 St Kevin’s College
By JAMES FORD
PHOTO: JAMES FORD – Meli Kolinisau in action for Waitaki Boys’ High School at Milner Park against John McGlashan College.