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Otago Boys' High School First XV muscled its way into the Highlanders region final with a 44-12 win against its rival from King's High School on Saturday afternoon.
It was a powerful display by the forwards and bodes well for the final against Southland Boys' High School in Invercargill this weekend.
The surface at Littlebourne was in terrible condition but it suited the home side. It used its big pack to seize control of the game in the opening few minutes.
Winger Max Brown stepped inside a defender to dot down in the corner but the try was set up by a lineout drive and the three or four previous rucks which had pulled in one or two defenders too many.
Impressive Otago Boys' openside flanker Taine Te Whata made the first of many rampaging runs a few moments later to get his side back into King's 22.
The visiting side fended off the initial wave but was outflanked on the left with No8 Sam Jones taking the final pass and running it in close to the posts.
King's replied with a charge-down try to the hard-working Tom Hume. But the blindside flanker's effort was very much against the run of play and Otago Boys' continued battering away and scored two more tries to lead 29-5 at the break.
Lock Sean Jansen nabbed one of them and was a dominant force in the lineout.
King's rallied in the second spell and kept its classy opponent scoreless for the best part of 20 minutes before Te Whata barrelled over. He got nice and low and looked a little like a small boulder hurtling from a trebuchet.
King's got its reward late with a try to nippy halfback Matt Horne. He took a nice inside pass from centre James Te Pairi, who had a solid game in the midfield and was arguably King's best player.
Otago Boys' captain Midge van Boxtel felt his side lost a little focus in the second half but the game was harder than it appeared.
"We definitely came out with a lot of motivation. There was no shortage of that,'' van Boxtel said.
"We just lost our composure in certain parts of the game. The scoreboard does not really reflect how tough that game was.''
Otago Boys' coach Ryan Martin felt the flat second half was in part down to muddy conditions.
"This is a tough ground to play on to be honest and I think our legs went.''
There was no thought given to shifting the game, though. The team wanted to play at its home venue and a couple of the forwards had even used the heavy roller to flatten out parts of the field before the match.
In the co-ed regional semifinal, Dunstan High School beat St Kevin's College 43-14 in Alexandra and will play St Peter's College in Gore in the final this weekend.