Last-ditch cup win for OBHS

Otago Boys’ High School first XV halfback James Arscott scores the winning  try against the John...
Otago Boys’ High School first XV halfback James Arscott scores the winning try against the John McGlashan College first XV at Littlebourne on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Call it a lucky escape for Otago Boys’ High School. Call it character-building for John McGlashan College. Call it whatever you like but we nearly had another shared title.

The schools first XV final appeared to be heading for a draw.

In the Otago Premier Schools final at Littlebourne on Saturday afternoon the sides were locked at 17-17 deep in injury time. With no provision for extra time, the next stoppage would probably have  ended the game and the teams would have had to share the Otago Daily Times Cup.

But there was a late twist. A penalty for a high tackle allowed Otago Boys’ captain and first five-eighth Tevita Asi to plug the corner.

The home team rumbled infield from the lineout and halfback James Arscott slipped over to score. Moments later he was engulfed in a sea of testosterone-fuelled teenage boys.

When the fans cleared, impressive fullback Jake Te Hiwi kicked the conversion to seal the dramatic 24-17 win.

McGlashan had an opportunity to win the game. It led 10-5 at halftime and was ahead 17-10 with about 10 minutes remaining.

Otago Boys’ dominated the scrums and had the edge in the lineout and out wide. But the visitors scrambled remarkably well and had the better of the majority of the second spell.

The Otago Boys’ High School first XV is all smiles after winning on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The Otago Boys’ High School first XV is all smiles after winning on Saturday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Otago Boys’ coach Regan Turoa   felt the fightback said more about the character of his team than the role of Lady Luck.

"I wouldn’t say we got out of jail," he said.

"Patience was the key. We always believed that we would do the job, it was just about getting the ball and keeping it."

That patience was absent for long stretches. Otago Boys’ made plenty of errors and conceded too many penalties.

But with the game on the line, the home side found a way to win and that builds confidence.

"When we look at the game as a whole there is a lot we can work on.

"Johnnies really took to us at the breakdown and I give them a lot of credit for that. They got some good turnovers.

"But we know we can finish a game and we can get up when we need to and we did that today."

Reuben Wairau had a strong game in the midfield for Otago Boys’. He scored a brilliant first-half try when he sliced through, palmed off Jez Nicholson-Kelly and beat the cover defence to score in the corner.

Asi had a mixed game but scored a vital try and his touch-finder helped set up the match-winning try, while lock Levi Turoa was outstanding in the lineout and Te Hiwi proved an elusive runner.

McGlashan captain Leroy Ferguson was ever present at the breakdown and scored the game’s opening try.

Hooker George Bell made some thumping tackles and first five-eighth Andrew McKenzie was assured.

Had the match ended in a draw it would have been the second shared title in a fortnight. Harbour and University were forced to share the premier club banner when they were  locked 30-30 after 100 minutes of rugby.

• In the championship final at Bishopscourt, Otago Boys’ High School Second XV was too strong for St Kevin’s College, winning 41-7.

Add a Comment