St Peter’s School, Cambridge 1st XV are the 2017 National Co – Educational School Rugby Champions, following a comprehensive win over 2016 Champs Feilding High School on Sunday. St Peter’s qualified as the Chiefs representatives in the top four co-ed schools nationally, having beaten Te Awamutu College, Hillcrest and Western Heights in the regional competition. Feilding represented the Hurricanes, St Andrew’s College was there for Southland and Rangitoto College for the Blues.
In the semi-finals on Friday last week, St Peter’s was up against St Andrew’s College. St Peter’s capitalised on a strong breeze during the first half. Bodie Mechell scored two tries; the first swopping onto a loose ball and running 60 metres after a big tackle on a Feilding attacking player from Peni Finau. Cameron Roigard superbly finished off four excellent team tries.
Playing into the wind in the second half, it was a matter of strong defensive efforts by St Peter’s. Lead by Ollie Norris, James Thompson, Devon Gregory and Captain Kaea Hongara, the Waikato boys held their own, restricting the South Island team to 15 points. With a convincing 48 – 15 win over St Andrews, St Peter’s secured a place in the finals against Feilding.
The St Peter’s side put on a strong performance on Sunday, not conceding a single try to Feilding. Devin Gregory crossed the chalk first for St Peter’s, after not being held in a tackle. Centre PJ Latu expanded the lead to 14-3, when he sprinted 65 metres following an offload from team mate Andrew Viane. Feilding was down 24-3 with 20 minutes to go when St Peter’s hooker Sean Chenery and lock Peni Finau were sin binned in quick succession. Even reduced to 13 men, the St Peter’s defence and character stayed strong, holding a Feilding player up over the line.
Keeping the ball in tight and playing a smart clinical game, the St Peter’s team worked their way into the Feilding half, putting themselves into position to pull off a long rolling maul designed by head Coach Sean Hohneck and finished by Sean Chenery.
Thanks to the dominance of forwards Andrew Viane (awarded ‘Man of the Match’), Ollie Norris, James Thomson and Peni Finua, St Peter’s wore down the 2016 champions to win their first National Rugby title and the NZ Barbarians Trophy, with a final score of 31 – 3.
St Peter’s U15 Rugby team were runners-up in the Lindisfarne U15 tournament.