The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV claimed their first high-profile scalp of the season on Saturday, downing Christ’s College 17-14 on the MBC front field.
In previous encounters against top sides in the University of Canterbury Championship MBC have shown early promise, but ultimately failed to deliver.
Not this time though, a superb defensive effort setting up a well-deserved victory.
MBC tore into their work from the outset and led 10-0 for much of the first half, before conceding a converted try just before the halftime whistle. Christ’s, who were second on the UC championship table, threw everything at the home side but were regularly driven back in the tackle and bettered at the breakdown.
The second half followed a similar pattern, MBC using the ball intelligently and defending resolutely, led by outstanding performances from midfielders Jake Pacey and Tom Hobson, fullback Cam Collins, plus replacement loosie Archie Schluter, No 8 Viliami Napa’a and hooker Ben Dalton.
A converted try to replacement hooker Te Ariki Peipi after 60 minutes allowed MBC a 10 point lead and, although Christ’s came back at the very end to pick up a bonus point with a converted try, it was very much the home side’s day.
Head coach Matt MacDougall said, “We have had a good eight-day conversation around effort … not tactics and game shape, or worrying about the scoreboard, we have just talked about being able to come off the field and being able to say you have given your all. And that’s what they did today, especially on defence.”
“The biggest thing for me was that they kept getting off the ground and working for each other.
“The boys have showed glimpses of that sort of form … that was the fifth game this season we have led at halftime … but this time they showed they could keep it up for the full 70 minutes, and that’s what we have been looking for.”
Next week MBC meet Christchurch BHS in Christchurch.
Scores: MBC 17 (Monu Moli, Te Ariki Peipi tries, Kyren Taumoefolau 2 con, pen) Christ’s College 14 (Sean Rutherford-Bradford, Matt Durant tries, Nic Shearer 2 con). HT: 10-7 MBC.
Other scores: Timaru 50 Roncalli 20; Christchurch BHS 25 Nelson 13; Rangiora 22 Waimea 17; St Thomas 70 Mid Canterbury 3; St Bede’s 68 Lincoln 7; St Andrew’s 29 Shirley 13.
Meanwhile, in division one action, Central came out on top of a 2019 grand final replay at Lansdowne Park.
They headed off Waitohi 26-16, maintaining their unbeaten 2020 record and underlining their favouritism for end-of-season honours. They also held on to the Tasman-wide John Goodman Challenge Trophy and the weekly MRSU challenge cup.
Both teams scored a try in the first spell, Tim O’Malley’s two penalties plus a conversion of Taine Cragg-Love’s touchdown giving the visitors a 13-8 advantage at oranges.
However the second spell told a different story, Central scoring the first 15 points through tries to lock Jesse Eising and centre Timoci Tavatavanawai, plus a Mitch Smith penalty and conversion.
O’Malley booted his third penalty to close the gap, before Smith slammed over a long range effort to allow the Blues a 10-point lead which proved enough, despite a late flurry from the defending champs.
For Central, props Peter and Tino Vakaloa had strong games, along with hard-charging flanker Siatoki Baker, while halfback Ethan Jones, plus midfielders Timoci Tavatavanawai and Jake Cresswell, were prominent.
Cragg-Love was outstanding for the Tohis, along with hooker Taimi Fangatua and prop Losi Malimali, while Dylan McManaway and O’Malley steered the ship expertly.
In Seddon, the home side were unable to grab a much-needed win over Renwick, the Green Machine prevailing 31-21 to consolidate second spot on the table. They scored two tries in each half and led 17-14 at halftime. Awatere closed to 24-21 midway through the second spell before a late try to prop Ty Bampton clinched a bonus point win for the Green Machine. Try-scoring prop George Tuineau was Renwick’s player of the day.
Central 26 (Jesse Eising, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Mitch Smith tries, Mitch Smith 3 pen, con) Waitohi 16 (Taine Cragg-Love try, Tim O’Malley 3 pen, con). HT 13-8 Waitohi.
Renwick 31 (George Tuineau, Josh Holdaway, Ty Bampton, Atunaisa Taufa tries, Michael Dillon 4 con, pen) Awatere 21 (Sione Vea 2, Flynn Struthers tries, Franco Quinones 3 con). HT: 17-14 Renwick.
Division one standings: Central 27, Renwick 25, Waitohi 18, Awatere 6, Moutere 6.
In Saturday’s Tasman women’s division one semifinal, Moutere were well beaten 41-0 by title favourite Waimea Old Boys in Nelson.
In division two action, Central beat Moutere 35-21 at Lansdowne Park.