Southland Boys’ beat King’s in ‘ding-donger’

Southlad Boys' coach Jason Dermody. Photo: Peter McIntosh/file
Southlad Boys' coach Jason Dermody. Photo: Peter McIntosh/file
Southland Boys’ are tracking nicely in their bid to retain southern schools bragging rights but they know success at the crunch end of the season will not come easily.

The final stages of the Southern Schools Rugby Championship are shaping to be intriguing as all three divisions look highly competitive.

Southland Boys’ remain unbeaten in division 1 but had to scrap to pip King’s 18-15 in Dunedin on Saturday.

The Invercargill school trailed 6-5 at halftime.

"It was a real battle, right to the end — a bit of a ding-donger, really," Southland Boys’ coach Jason Dermody said.

"It was actually a high-quality game, given the conditions. It was pretty windy.

"The team that played into the wind was actually the best team in both halves."

Will Henry controlled played nicely from second five for Southland Boys’.

Up front, Thomas Jennings got stuck into his work at tighthead prop.

Loosehead prop Henry Hunter was all class for King’s, while 15-year-old fullback Lafa Tofiga showed he is a player of terrific promise.

Southland Boys’ might have the target on their back as defending champions but Dermody thinks all teams in the top tier pose a threat.

"The teams in the top division are really competitive at the moment. Anybody can beat anybody, which is good. The competition is looking quite strong."

The schools competition now breaks for the holidays, which Dermody said was an ideal chance for his players — who have had a demanding season, including the trip to Japan for the Sanix tournament — to freshen up.

They face a gritty South Otago side when play resumes.

"I’m hearing really good things about how they’re going, so that will be another battle."

In the other division 1 games, John McGlashan beat South Otago 19-12, and Otago Boys’ beat Wakatipu 27-0.

Dunstan beat Otago Boys’ 2nds 36-14 in division 2, and Southland Boys’ 2nds beat King’s 2nds 22-0. The other game in the division was Waitaki’s win over St Kevin’s in the Blood Match the previous day.

There were two thrillers in division 3. Cromwell beat Mount Aspiring 27-24, and Maruawai/Menzies pipped Central Southland 8-7.

Friday’s division 1 game was also close. McGlashan 2nds scored a late penalty to beat Taieri 10-8