The three finals of the Metropolitan junior rugby competition were held in the Forsyth Barr Stadium last Saturday. The indoor stadium show cased junior rugby at its finest with skill, speed, and strength all on show in front of supportive families and friends.
Neighbouring clubs Southern and Pirates contested all three finals in the U11, U12, and U13 grades. All of the teams were very excited and appreciative to get the opportunity to play in the Stadium and it was a day the players will never forget.
In the U11 final Pirates Gunners started strongly and were first to score, however the overall ability of the unbeaten Southern Magpies side eventually wore Pirates down. Southern scored 7 tries, with excellent goal kicking by Samuel McCormack converting 6 of the tries. Pirates scored 3 tries with Jack Soal converting all three. Southern Magpies deservedly winning the match 47-21. (halftime 28-7).
In a hard fought U12 final the unbeaten Pirates Skulls dominated the close quarter exchanges with their big running forwards led by Ben Stephens and Jamin Miller crossing the advantage line regularly. Callum Hill scored 2 first half tries for Pirates to lead Southern 21-5. The speedy Ryan Kreft scored 2 tries and consistent goal kicking by Stephens maintained a comfortable gap in the scores. Southern never gave in however and scored the last 3 tries and a hat trick to flanker Gaige Walsh who had a fine all round game, along with rangy no 8 Kale Twist. The final score was 40-29 to Pirates Skulls.
In the final match of the day, the top seeded Southern Magpies got off to a fast start scoring 2 converted tries. However the Pirates Raiders hit back and locked the scores up at 14-14 midway through the first half. This proved to be the nature of the game with any try scored by Southern matched soon after by Pirates. At halftime Southern led 26-19.
With the scores close at 33-31 to Southern with 15 minutes to go, the tension in the stadium could be cut with a knife. However Southern took control in the last quarter running in 3 further tries to win 52-31
Both forward packs gave as good as they got, winning good ball for their backlines. Oceana Campbell showed her openside flanker skills snaffling ball at the breakdown and tormenting the Pirates players in the open, while the size and speed of big Pirates no 8 Trevor Elisara caused problems when he got his hands on the ball.
The speed of Southern centre Isaac Dolan and fullback Ben Paku threatened Pirates throughout the match and between them they scored 5 tries. Classy Magpies first five Jacob Murray distributed well and kicked 6 from 8 conversions. Cruz Wallace shone in the Pirates backline.
Under 13: Southern Magpies 52 (Isaac Dolan 3, Ben Paku 2, Ben Freeman, Elthan Hastie, Oceana Campbell tries, Jacob Murray 6 conversions), Pirates Raiders 31 (Pirates Raiders 31 (Trevor Elisara 2, Haiyz Camplin, Cruz Wallace, Reuben Bouman try; Bouman 3 cons.). Halftime: Southern 26-19.
Under 12: Pirates Skulls 40 (Callum Hill 2, Ryan Kreft 2, Griffin Wingham, Max O’Connor tries; Ben Stephens 5 conversions), Southern Magpies 29 (Gaige Walsh 3, Kale Twist, Sam Nemec-Vial tries; Nemec-Vial 2 cons), Halftime: Pirates 21-5
Under 11: Southern Magpies 47 (Kieran Dreadon 2, Bailey Pearce, Te Atawhai Campbell, Jack Underwood-Nicol, Joe Parkinson, Caleb Farrow tries; Samuel McCormack 6 cons.), Pirates Gunners 21 (Blake Clearwater, Wiremu Ferguson, Jacob Buckby tries; Jack Soal 3 cons.). Halftime 28-7.