The Marlborough Boys’ College First XV got the job done against Roncalli Combined on the college front field on Saturday, but would not be entirely proud of their workmanship.
The South Canterbury-based crew put on a gutsy display, making the home side battle gamely for a 26-5 bonus point victory, although MBC made hard work of it, especially in the first spell.
With several changes to their regular top line-up, the Falcons struggled for continuity and rhythm on attack during the early stages, with the visitors scoring first after 20 minutes.
Five minutes later, MBC No 8 Viliama Napa’a, one of the outstanding figures in the game, burst over from close range, Kyren Taumoefolau converting to give the home side a lead they never relinquished.
A second try to Napa’a, this time a spectacular solo effort from 40m out, widened the home side’s advantage after eight minutes of the second spell, then replacement winger Cooper Roberts, another standout, sliced through to score from a back move.
The introduction of skipper Monu Moli late in the piece lifted the home side and it was the big prop himself who scored MBC’s bonus point try, proving unstoppable from 5m out.
MBC’s loose forward trio of Napa’a, Toby McLeod and William MacKenzie were outstanding, the latter claiming a string of turnovers when the home side were under the pump. Midfielder Jake Pacey and replacement first five Hugh Robinson were others to impress.
Next week MBC play their final round robin game, also at home, against Mid Canterbury Combined.
MBC lie in 11th position on the ladder, aiming for a win next week to push them up to ninth or 10th and a home fixture in the ensuing play-offs.
Scores: MBC 26 (Viliami Napa’a 2, Cooper Roberts, Monu Moli tries, Kyren Taumoefolau 3 con) Roncalli Combined 5 (Angus Jensen try). HT 7-5.
Other scores: St Thomas 31 Shirley 27; Nelson College 48 Lincoln 7; St Bede’s 62 Mid Canterbury 19; Timaru 31 Waimea 11; Christchurch BHS 20 Rangiora 15; St Andrew’s 33 Christ’s College 31.