Nelson College claimed bragging rights over its regional rugby rivals, dispatching Marlborough Boys’ College First XV 48-14 in Nelson on Thursday.
In wet, slippery conditions, Nelson ran in seven tries to dominate the match, which doubled as a traditional school exchange and UC championship fixture.
Fergus Hughes led Nelson College in the absence of regular skipper Anton Segner, who was forced to sit out the clash with a knee injury. MBC were also missing their skipper, Ollie Lawson, through injury.
The hosts wouldn’t take long to assert their dominance with Ben Faingaanuku scoring the opener following some slick handling in the wet.
Jontee Taylor was tasked with filling the number seven jersey and made the most of his start with a tireless effort. His line-break led to a second for Nelson halfback Mason.
Nelson out-muscled Marlborough at the breakdown and set-piece as the visitors were forced into crucial errors.
The home side’s superior forward play put hooker Jack McDonald-Hill in for a third before Marlborough finally replied through prop Tino Vakaloa.
Nelson struck back immediately, picking up a bonus point try when lock Tom Thornally proved too strong close to the line.
As the rain intensified, Nelson winger Taya Brown found himself unmarked to stroll over as his side took a commanding 33-7 lead at the break.
Isaiah Malaulau continued the momentum after oranges as the powerful prop barrelled over to put Nelson into the 40s.
There was some second half joy for Marlborough though when fullback Liam Duncan pounced on a kick ahead. But again Nelson struck back straight away, Luca Inch rewarded with a try which sealed an emphatic victory.
MBC head coach Matt MacDougall said Nelson were just too good for his charges on the day. “Their forward pack was outstanding, brutal.
“They outplayed us … their carries were so strong, our boys were making tackles but none of them were dominant, we were just going backwards, sapping the energy out of us. Then they started getting round the corner a lot quicker than us and we started leaking tries.”
“When they scored just after halftime I thought it might blow out to a cricket score but the boys dug deep, kept tackling. Credit to them for sticking it out, but all the damage was done in the first half.”
Prop Vakaloa, who has been putting in big shifts each week, was one of MBC’s best, in a side that may have been feeling the effects of three tough matches in 10 days.
“I would have liked to have played Nelson first [of the three games] that’s for sure, just given the workload the majority of our forwards have carried. But we have no excuses.
“I couldn’t fault the boys’ intent, it was just hammering after hammering.”
Next up for MBC is a meeting with Rangiora HS on Saturday, June 8, in Blenheim.
Scorers: Nelson 48 (Faigaanuku, Lund, McDonald-Hill, Thornally, Brown, Malaulau, Inch tries, Nico Barton pen, 5 con) MBC 14 (Duncan, Vakaloa tries, Murrell 2 cons). HT: 33-7.
Nelson College generally dominated throughout the annual sporting exchange, winning the First XI football clash 3-0, the senior basketball match 73-50, the second XV rugby 50-0 and two of the four junior rugby matches.
MBC took out the first XI hockey 4-1 and the junior football tie 4-3.