Bruce Pulman Park, Papakura
Wednesday, September 5

The contenders for both the Premiership and Development titles emerged on day three of the NZRL National Secondary Schools Tournament in Auckland, with the top qualifiers now confirmed ahead of the play-offs starting on Thursday.

In the top tier, St Paul’s fended off a fast-finishing Southern Cross Campus to pick up their third win, 20-16, after leading 14-0 at the break, while fellow Auckland heavyweights Kelston Boys’ High School assured themselves of topping Pool B by producing a shutout 32-0 victory over Manurewa High School.

St Paul’s and Kelston both advance as top qualifiers of their pools.

St Thomas of Canterbury College and Westlake Boys’ High School traded tries through the first half and were locked at 12 points apiece early in the second half, before the Canterbury side piled on the points late, with wingers Levani Rova and Cormack Tarrant bagging doubles, to win 36-16.

St Thomas coach Andrew Auimatagi said he was pleased with the way his side came through to finish second in a tough Pool D, which included top Auckland sides Mt Albert Grammar and Westlake Boys’ High School.

“We’ve showed a lot of fight,” he said.

“It’s definitely been pleasing to hold our own and beat two Auckland teams. It was a bit of an unknown for us coming up here and playing against high-level opposition.”

In other action, Wesley College bounced back from a two-point loss to Otahuhu on Tuesday, running out 56-6 winners over Whangarei Boys’ High School, with fleet-footed back Tuhi Pompey and hooker Vaka Sikahele both registering hat-tricks.

Two late tries weren’t enough to save Tokoroa High School from a 28-22 loss to Manukura, who led 22-6 at the break and had centre Arapere Ratima score a double.

Mt Albert Grammar School overcame a sluggish start to down James Cook High School 22-6 thanks to 14 unanswered points in the second half, winning Pool D in the process, while centre Selesitino Ravutaumada bagged a double to make it seven tries in two games, helping Rotorua Boys’ High School top Pool C with a gritty 22-12 win over former national champions, Otahuhu College.

In the Development Grade, a 22-point individual effort from hooker Ilisoni Rauhihi – which included a hat-trick of tries and five conversions – did much of the damage for Manawatu College as they powered past Haeata Community Campus 38-10.

A strong defensive showing late in the match got Howick College home 26-16 against Wellington’s Naenae College, while two unanswered tries in the second stanza lifted Whangaparoa College past Papakura High School 24-12, after scores were tied at half-time.

Whangaparoa qualify through Pool E with an undefeated record.

Onehunga eased past Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate 26-4 in the final Development match of day three, for a win which assured them of topping Pool F.

St Paul’s College 20 Southern Cross Campus 16, Kelston Boys’ High School 32 Manurewa High School 0, Wesley College 56 Whangarei Boys’ High School 6, St Thomas of Canterbury College 36 Westlake Boys’ High School 16, Tokoroa High School 22 Manukura 28, Mt Albert Grammar School 22 James Cook High School 6, Rotorua Boys’ High School 22 Otahuhu College 12

Haeata Community Campus 10 Manawatu College 38, Naenae College 16 Howick College 26, Papakura High School 24 Whangaparoa College 24, Onehunga High School 26 Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate 4

Try Scored, Mt Albert Grammar v Westlake Boys, NZRL, National Secondary Schools Rugby League Competition, Day 2. Bruce Pulman Park, Auckland. 4 September 2018. Copyright Image: William Booth /
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