JMC pips King’s to meet Otago Boys’ in final

The defending champion has been knocked out of the Otago premier school tournament.

John McGlashan College will progress to the final at the expense of King’s High School.

But there has been so little between the teams in the past few years that even a mouse squeak at the wrong time could have had a profound impact on the result.

McGlashan won the semifinal 12-10, continuing the trend of insanely tight encounters.

The total winning margin for the previous five games amounts to about 10 points.

One of those nail-biters was during last year’s final, which King’s won 10-8.

McGlashan coach Matt Direen said it was such a great game he would have been just as happy with his side’s effort had they lost.

"It just felt like it was a battle all the way through by two evenly matched teams," he said.

McGlashan scored first through winger Toby Jarvie about midway through the first half. First five-eighth Andrew McKenzie kicked the sideline conversion, which ended up being crucial.

He blotted his copy book later in the half when he was yellow-carded for in infringement at the ruck and King’s scored during his absence.

King’s went ahead through a penalty with about 15 minutes remaining.

But McKenzie was on hand to score the match-winner after halfback Tatsuya Fujii made a wonderful dart down the blindside. He chipped and regathered and got a nice pace away on the inside.

Lock Tom Dempster had a massive game on defence with some telling tackles and hooker George Bell carried the ball strongly, while McKenzie’s tactical kicking was first-class.

McGlashan’s prize is a spot in the final alongside Otago Boys’ High School First XV, which dispatched Dunstan 43-10 in the other semifinal.

In the bottom-six competition, Otago Boys’ Second XV beat Taieri College 62-5 in one semifinal and St Kevin’s College beat South Otago High School 20-5 in the other.

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