St Hilda's overwhelmed in SI final

There was no joy for St Hilda's Collegiate First XV in the South Island final of the national top four tournament in the weekend.

Christchurch Girls' High School proved way too strong, winning 71-21 in Christchurch.

But Dunstan High School will get an opportunity to restore some pride for the Deep South.

Its First XV has made it through to the South Island co-educational final following a tense 31-29 win against Gore High School in Gore on Saturday.

Dunstan will travel north to Christchurch to play St Andrew's College on Saturday for a place in the national finals.

Dunstan coach Cory Crosbie said the score was locked 17-17 at halftime but his side seized the initiative in the opening half of the second spell.

Centre Zack Healey got a lovely pass from talented first five-eighth Matt Johnson. He split the defence and beat the cover to score from 60m out.

Dunstan added another converted try to clear out. But Gore rallied to score with three minutes remaining.

Dunstan spent the final moments of the game grimly hanging on.

"We had it in the bag but they were fighting for it," he said.

"Everyone had a good game. I can't really single anyone out. It was full team effort, really."

St Hilda's coach Alan West said his side was outclassed early but rallied in the second spell.

"Their backs were everything we expected but they had a really strong and physical forward pack," he said.

"That kind of upset us a bit at scrum time. Their size became quite a big factor.

"We played our way into the game a bit more in the second half, so I was proud of that effort. But we were just shell-shocked at the start just with their size and speed."

Halfback Eden Carson was the picked of the St Hilda's players, while second five-eighth Emma Black carried strongly and loose forward Libby Drummond was impressive in a beaten pack.

Otago Boys' High School will host Nelson College in the South Island final at Littlebourne on Saturday.

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