Southland Boys’ simply too strong in regional semi

Southland Boys’ High School player Sala Kuresa gets an off-load away during his team’s  42-5...
Southland Boys’ High School player Sala Kuresa gets an off-load away during his team’s 42-5 victory over Dunedin school John McGlashan College in Invercargill on Saturday. Photo: Logan Savory
Southland Boys’ High School made a clear statement on Saturday on their way to booking a spot in the Highlanders regional school rugby final against Otago Boys’ High School.

Competition organisers ranked Southland Boys’ second for the semifinals, which meant they took on Dunedin school John McGlashan College in their semifinal, played in Invercargill.

Seven days earlier John McGlashan College had been beaten 24-17 on the stroke of fulltime by Otago Boys’ High School in the Otago schools final.

Southland Boys’ have had limited game time in recent weeks, but showed few signs of rust as they produced a commanding 42-5 victory.

Not surprisingly captain Sean Withy was delighted with what his team delivered.

"We thought about it all week, we knew [John McGlashan College] were going to bring a lot of heat. They were confident after last week and they should have been after pushing OBs.

"But on our home track — it was our last game of this year — we came out firing and I think that determined the rest of the game," Withy said.

Southland Boys’ raced out to a 15-nil lead early in the game, through tries to wing Junior Lafoga and openside flanker Withy.

Withy’s try was a beauty, as the big forward found himself in the clear and outsprinted the John McGlashan College defence to cross. The home team should have probably racked up even more first half points given the dominance they showed, but struggled to finish.

John McGlashan College scored with five minutes to play in the first half to provide a boost, heading into halftime at 15-5 down.

However, the determined Southland Boys’ outfit did not let up, running in three unanswered second half tries to complete the 42-5 victory.

While Waitaki Boys’ High School put on a spirited display as expected, Otago Boys’ progressed in the other semifinal in Dunedin with a convincing 43-0 victory.

- Logan Savory

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