Winning school decided off field

Murray Munro
Murray Munro
It turns out the All Blacks won the series against the British and Irish Lions after all.

That is if you applied the rule which is used to adjudicate drawn games in secondary school rugby.

Dunstan High School and St Peter’s College, of Gore, drew 17-17 after 70 minutes of action in the Highlanders co-educational final.

As no extra time was played, the winner of the game — and there had to be a winner to go on and  play St Andrew’s College, of Christchurch — was decided by off-field rules.

It first went to the team which scored the most tries. As both teams had scored three tries, they could not be separated.

The next rule was which team scored the first try. That was the team from Gore and it will go on to play next week.

Dunstan High School had no complaints but it seems a rather strange way to decide the winner of a game.

Otago rugby secondary schools council chairman Murray Munro said the rule has been round for a while and was not often used.

New Zealand Rugby sets limits on how many minutes a school player could play so no extra time was played on Saturday and this rule was fixed around the country, he said.

Players were often exhausted at the end of the game and it was not wise to keep playing as there was a higher chance of injury.

Munro said if no tries were scored, it would then go down to the first points scorer. If no points were scored, then it would go down to the ultimate game of chance — the toss of a coin.

Player welfare was paramount for New Zealand Rugby so extra time was simply not an option, Munro said.

There had been a similar situation in the North Island earlier this month, when Hastings Boys’ High School and Hamilton Boys’ High School had fought out a 12-12 draw,  both sides scoring two tries in the final of the Central North Island super eight competition.

Hamilton was initially declared the winner as it scored the first try but a check of the rules later on showed if the final ended in a draw, the trophy would be shared.

The All Blacks scored the first try, by Ngani Laumape, in the deciding test of their series against the Lions. Jordie Barrett added another, while the Lions kicked five penalties to draw the deciding test in the series 15-15.

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