The Wanganui High School 1st XV secured a home semifinal after scoring maximum points from their 34-5 demolition of cellar dwellers Te Kawau in the final round robin game of the McDonald’s Manawatu Colts rugby division on Saturday.
Playing at home, WHS finished second on 38 points behind Massey White Colts on 40. Dannevirke and Linton Colts tied for third on 37. WHS have a home semi against Linton, while Dannevirke take on leaders Massey White at home. Linton had beaten Dannevirke in round robin play, so edged into third onpoints.
WHS and Linton met in round one with Linton winning by three points. However, WHS has steadily improved throughout the season and will be a formidable opponent come semi time.
On Saturday, WHS finished off a great passage of play where the ball swung from left to right to allow Kalib Houltham to end the move with a try. The conversion was unsuccessful.
Then from a pick-and-go Griffin Culver scored in the corner and this time Mitchell Millar made no mistake with the boot to extend the lead out to 12-0.
Not to be denied, Te Kawau scored after winning a lineout right by the line, but missed the kick. Unfortunately, it was to be the visitors’ only points.
WHS showed great teamwork after receiving a penalty to swing the ball from the left side of the field to the right and into the hands of Poutama Hamahona-Taiaroa, who scored in the corner. Millar was again successful with the conversion.
The soft ground was proving to be a bit of an issue, but with great ball retention WHS spun it wide to Jessy Kemp to score in the corner. Millar missed the kick.
Then, from a penalty against Te Kawau, Corbin Warren grabbed an opportunity and sliced through the middle where he linked up with Kalib Houltham who scored in the corner. The conversion was again unsuccessful.
From a great break through from Kohlt Convey, WHS showed great teamwork to get the ball out wide where Karahi Potaka-Osborne scored in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful, but the damage was done with the final score at 34-5 to WHS.
The semifinal between WHS and Linton is expected to produce some of the best rugby the colts division offers and spectators are urged to get along to Wanganui High School at 1pm on Saturday to support the home side’s bid to make the final.
By Iain Hyndman – Wanganui Chronicle