Dire match: four points from glory | HBHS v SJC

The book of Samuel wasn’t finished because ink was set to be spilled on a second David and Goliath matchup. The superpower team that has won world championships, national titles and everything else you can think of. Versus the team from a humble school where rugby is just another sport on a saturday.

Hamilton Boys’ High played host last Tuesday at 3:15pm for the first of the qualifying stages of the National Top 4 Competition. Hamilton Boys’ High met St John’s College for the second time this year but this time, it was do or die.

Play opened with a Hamilton Boys’ knock on right in front of the hundreds of SJC students which gave the visitors exactly what they wanted. Hamilton Boys’ discipline let them down in the first fifteen minutes conceding a number of penalties.

Setefano Leavasa was the peak of a mountain of pick and drives from the visitors to sneakily dot the ball against the base of the post to open the try scoring.

BJ Lima scored his own in the left hand corner of the ground to the ecstatic scenes of the SJC supporters.

In Referee’s time SJC hit back with a spectacular try by way of Liam Coombes-Fabling. After one of the tackles of the century by BJ Lima on the HBHS halfback, St John’s regained the ball for only a few phases of dominance later to see ‘the arm in the air’.

The second half started to see Hamilton Boys’ hit back with a superb try Which brought back the deficit. Both First-Five Eighths Liam Coombes-Fabling and Rameka Poihipi were influential in the second half with their penalties and conversions respectively.

In the latter stages of the second half Siave Seti saw himself in a 50 metre foot race with the HBHS Fullback to snap up the pill and in turn offloading to Nakoa Marcroft to score a scintillating try on the St John’s Supporter’s side of the field.

The proceeding minutes for both team were the deciding factors in their seasons. HBHS showed their experience at knock out rugby and scored not long after Marcroft’s moment of glory.

St John’s forced a 22 drop-out by way of their attack in the 64th minute. SJC charged the kick and Hamilton Boys’ scrambled upon the ball. The charge down opened holes in the SJC defence which allowed Rameka Poihipi to penetrate. HBHS scored a brilliant try after a series of passes and took the lead in the 65th minute for the first time in the match.

SJC needed to regain the ball of the kickoff which they did, but a lost forward in the attack for the line saw HBHS win with their supporters storming the pitch to join the team in immense celebration.

This game’s atmosphere was one from a fairytale. The SJC support showed their heart and chanted for every tackle, every line break, every point. HBHS responded after being stunned by their opponent’s following. The match turned from just another game, to a newly forged brutal rivalry. St John’s students performed their haka to which Hamilton Boys’ responded on the other side of the field.

This match would now have to surely be an annual note on each school’s calendar, marked as ‘important’

“Experienced teams just know how to close out matches”, a saying that once again proved its validity.

FT: HBHS 32, SJC 29

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