Set piece weapon for McGlashan

King’s High School First XV co-captains Tom Hume (18, left) and James Te Pairi (17) and John...
King’s High School First XV co-captains Tom Hume (18, left) and James Te Pairi (17) and John McGlashan College First XV captain Reon Lowery (18) hold the Otago Premier Schools trophy at King’s High School yesterday. Photo: Linda Robertson.
John McGlashan College will be hoping there is a scrum every few minutes.

That is where the defending champion believes it can attack King’s High School in the final of the Otago Premier Schools competition at King’s tomorrow afternoon.

The schools’ first XVs have been the dominant teams in the tournament this season and there was very little separating the sides in their previous two encounters.

King’s won both games but needed a last-minute penalty in the opening game and won the second by seven points.

"I think we’re definitely the underdog," McGlashan coach John Kyle said.

"They are a really good side. They have good balance and they’ve managed to get two wins against us. I’m sure they are feeling pretty confident."

There are two areas in which McGlashan feels it has the advantage, though.

The back-to-back champion has more experience in playoff rugby and its scrum is a potent weapon.

"Our set piece has been dominant over everyone all year so it would not take a rocket scientist to work it out [where we will look to attack]."

That power comes from the front row of Reon Lowery, George Bell and Jackson Dempster.

They have gone forward in just about every scrum this season, while loose forwards Henry Bell and Leroy Ferguson are key cogs in the pack as well.

Midfield pairing Angus Simmers and Jimmy Sinclair have formed a potent combination, while first five-eighth Hunter Cleland is McGlashan’s leading scorer with 107 points.

But King’s has a good pack as well  and it has been the best side in the competition, winning all 13 fixtures.

King’s got a fright in the semifinal against Otago Boys’ High School Second XV but found a way to win with a try in injury time to fullback Josh Duff.

"It was certainly a wake up call," King’s co-coach Ryan Bambry said.

"The old cliche but we did really go away from what we’ve done all year. But we’ve flushed that and we’ve had a really good week.

"We have respect for what [McGlashan] have done over the last three or four years.

"They are the two-time reigning champion and they have finals pedigree. They played unbelievably well to beat OBs First XV last year, so we are under no illusions about the task."

King’s has a well-balanced team and can attack in a variety of ways. However, the midfielder combination of Giovani Leituala and co-captain James Te Pairi shape as influential figures.

Leituala has accumulated 145 points this season, including eight tries, while Te Pairi has crossed the chalk for 15 tries.

Halfback Matt Horne is highly rated and loose forward and co-captain Tom Hume has impressed as well.

 

Premier schools final
King’s  v John McGlashan

King’s High School, Saturday August 12, 1.30pm

Previous matches: King’s won both games, 25-22 and 22-15.

Squads

King’s High School: Josh Duff, Ben Pringle, James Te Pairi, Giovani Leituala, Nathan Hastie, Henri Mitchell-Collie, Matt Horne, Logan Taimale, Dylan Tutty, Tom Hume, Matt Monga, Izaak Parata, Sepa Vaka, Jack Clement, Lemanu Ma’asi. Reserves: Sharif Steel, Zac Mitchell-Collie, Shannon Murch, Sam Stewart, Jack Addis, Sam Ryan, Ryan Jones.

John McGlashan College: Jak Jessop, Ness Scully, Jimmy Sinclair, Angus Simmers, Nico Bowering, Hunter Cleland, Josh Stackhouse, Charlie Baker, Henry Bell, Leroy Ferguson, Charlie Davies, Oliver Geddes, Reon Lowery, George Bell, Jackson Dempster. Reserves: Sam Engelbrecht, Jared Burns, Tom Dempster, Lochie Bain, Andrew McKenzie, Charlie Dougherty, Toby Jarvie.

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