OBHS in quest to retain title

The OBHS side which won a narrow victory against cross-town rivals King's in a stunning final at...
The OBHS side which won a narrow victory against cross-town rivals King's in a stunning final at last year's national secondary schools touch tournament. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Otago Boys’ starts their defence of their national secondary school touch title today.

The Dunedin school won their maiden title last year after beating cross-town rivals King’s in a stunning final.

The scores were locked 5-5 at the end of regulation time and tournament MVP Jake Fowler dived low to score, sealing a 6-5 victory for Otago Boys’.

Touch Otago operations manager Jarrod Powell said it was a big moment having two Dunedin schools in the final — "I don’t think it’s ever been two South Island teams" — considering the title had been split between Hamilton Boys’ and Rotorua Boys’ for the previous 14 years.

Otago Boys’ and King’s look strong again this year, headed by star players Fowler (Otago Boys’) and Dylan Pledger (King’s).

Otago Boys’, coached by former pupils and Touch Blacks brothers Angus and Hamish Faulks, will face Nelson Boys’ first up this morning, while King’s will play Shirley Boys’ before rounding out the first day against John McGlashan.

John McGlashan, who won the plate final last year, were a new young team packed with potential, coached by New Zealand open mixed coach Damian Burden.

They will be joined by Southland Boys’ in the boys grade.

St Hilda’s, Columba and East Otago — attending their first national championships in several years — are all competing in the girls grade.

"I think we’ve got quite a lot of potential in the girls grade this year as well," Powell said.

South Otago, Cromwell and Taieri will also compete in the mixed grade.

Powell said it was fantastic to see so many Otago teams representing the region at the national championships.

"It’ll be interesting to see how they go.

"Secondary schools is a really cool competition because every year it changes because, obviously, you’ve got new ones coming in and year 13s leaving.

"It becomes quite hard to predict. It’s kind of like anyone’s game going there."

The national championships, held in Rotorua, finish on Sunday.