Clash of the titans to open Chch club rugby season

Marist flanker Filipo Veamatahau soars high to claim a lineout during his side’s 31-26 win in...
Marist flanker Filipo Veamatahau soars high to claim a lineout during his side’s 31-26 win in last year’s final. PHOTO: JOSH BAMBER/CRFU
High School Old Boys and Marist Albion will open the Christchurch Metro club rugby season in a rematch of last year’s final.

Marist come in as defending champions after getting up over Old Boys, 31-26, in the final eight months ago. 

Head coach Ross Kennedy said it was a huge match to start the competition on Saturday.

“Marist Albion are a traditional rival of High School Old Boys, a rivalry that goes back many years.

“They don’t like us, we don’t like them, so that’s what makes it such a great clash first up.”

Old Boys head coach Joff Mooar said his side were excited for the match.

“There’s a little bit of unfinished business. It’s a big game against Marist Albion.

“But it’s a new season, and the slate is all clean, so we just want to get through it, to be honest, and to come out on the other side ahead would be great.”

Mooar said playing Marist – expected to again be one of the strongest teams – would be beneficial for Old Boys.

“We’re happy to play anybody, but it’s good to get a strong team up first.

“Then it’s only one game in, but we’ll know where we are, what we need to do, and where we’re at.”

While Marist will be looking to defend their title, Kennedy said that’s not the mentality they’re taking to the season.

“We’re very clear in our mindset, we’re starting back at the bottom of the hill like everyone else.

“It’s gonna take a lot of sacrifice to get to the top of the hill again and win another championship.”

Saturday’s other opening round matches see another big clash between University of Canterbury and Linwood – a rematch of last year’s semi-final, won by underdogs Linwood in a nail-biter, 40-39.

Lincoln University also went out in the semi-finals last year, and will be hoping for a good start when they take on Belfast at Sheldon Park.

Shirley host Burnside while Christchurch make the trip out to play against Sumner, and New Brighton host Sydenham.

  • Christchurch Metro round 1 (2.45pm Saturday)
HSOB v Marist Albion, Bob Deans Field
University v Linwood, Ilam Fields
Shirley v Burnside, Burwood Park
Sumner v Christchurch, 
St Leonard’s Square
New Brighton v Sydenham, 
Rawhiti Domain
Belfast v Lincoln Uni, Sheldon Park