Tough finals finish for Mahurangi College rugby

The third consecutive final between Mahurangi and Westlake proved to be another nail-biter, with just a few errors separating the two sides.

The Mahurangi College First XV lost its third straight final to Westlake Boys High School in the North Harbour 1B Competition last month.

The team went down 29-20 in a well fought match at QBE Stadium Oval 2.

Assistant coach Jon Blyth says the team was ready for the occasion, but failure to execute exit plays from kick-off cost them.

“Both teams were even on the day in terms of ability, but turnovers in our own territory gave them an opportunity to capitalise,” Jon says.

The team trailed at half time, but pulled the score back to 22-20 with about 10 minutes left on the clock.

“We tackled so much in the first half that fatigue was a concern, but we did really well to get ourselves back into the match.”

Jon puts the second half composure down to some good experience from the round robin prior to the final.

“We had a must win game before the final against Rosmini where we were down 8-0 at half time and fought back for a 15-8 win, so we always had belief.”

The side used the last round robin match against Westlake to examine where its weaknesses were ahead of the final game.

“We knew we had to shut down their number 12 who is a top player and we did that effectively.

“We had the right game plan for the final, but let ourselves down with some key errors.”

Despite the end result, Jon says he is very happy with what the team achieved this year.

“To win the Mt Roskill Exchange, Hauraki Exchange and make the 1B final is impressive.

“Head coach Terrence Banks has made a huge contribution for his first year in the First XV set-up in terms of game plans and coaching.”

Despite having nine players set to leave the squad at the end of this year Jon is comfortable that good rotation of bench players means a strong side will come through next year.

The Mahurangi College 7th Grade team also made the finals last month and were the first Mahurangi side to make an A grade final since 1997.

They went down 28-19 to Takapuna Grammar at QBE Stadium Oval 1.

Assistant coach Wayne Mason says the atmosphere of the final overwhelmed his side in the first half leading to a defeat.

“We conceded a large number of penalties early on, which isn’t like us,” Wayne says.

“The team was disappointed to lose, having beaten Takapuna two rounds earlier in the competition.”

Wayne acknowledged first-five Patrick Mackinnon as a standout player, who has been selected for the North Harbour U14 rep side.

“He is a real general on the field and a future star in the making.”

Patrick shaving his head earlier in the year for CanTeen NZ inspired the rest of the team to follow suit when they made the final, raising around $2500 for the cause.


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