Rotorua BHS win national top four

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Sky Sport     08 Sep 2015     Getty Images

The excitement levels in today's National Top Four final between Rotorua Boys' High School and Scots College simmered away like the sulphur bubbles that pop around this city.

When local No.8 Kaydis Hona drove over for the winning try the excitement levels erupted into fever pitch. The home crowd invaded the field and celebrated their fourth National title wildly.
The 33rd National decider was an absolute cracker. It featured nine tries, two lead changes and a red card.

Rotorua scored the opening try after about 10 minutes. Right wing Ngarohi Mc-Garvey-Black retrieved the ball deep in his half and chipped ahead. Opposite Malo Manuao secured in retreat for Scots, but lost the ball in contact. Mc-Garvey-Black regained possession and created a try for halfback Te Ra Whata.

Rotorua fumbled a lineout in their 22 and that allowed Scots to respond. Fullback Jack Gray pushed aside a meek defender and scored his fourth try in four games this season. The Year 11 student is an injury replacement for Connor Garden-Bachop.

Rotorua surged ahead 19-7 when they scored the next two tries. Livewire left wing James Tofa sailed in following a break by fullback Isaac Te Aute who then scored an outstanding 55-meter individual try himself. He even side steeped his own players.

Crucially Scots scored a try on halftime when prop Alex Fidow bullied his way over in the corner after a dispute for the ball at the lineout.

Rotorua attacked vigorously at the start of the second-half, but it was Scots who soon claimed the lead when the Umaga-Jensen twins combined to score an outrageous 80-meter try.

Initially halfback Ollie Whiteman sniped into a hole in the middle of the ruck. He transferred to Thomas Umaga-Jensen who stormed from 22 to 22. As he was tackled the ball squirted free and Peter Umaga-Jensen collected in one hand and strode away. Manuao added the conversion to make it 22-19 to Scots.

Rotorua hit back with a series of quick short side raids. Tofa grabbed a double and it was 24-22.

Te Aute was named man of the match. His attack was mesmerising at times and a 35-meter dash, swerving around multiple defenders made it 29-22.

Rotorua threatened to gallop away, but Thomas Umaga-Jensen inspired another Scots rally with a typical 50-meter bust. He was caught by Te Aute, but a scrum penalty and another rumble over from Fidow made it 29-27.

Rattled Rotorua lost the plot. Second-five Waisea Nuimataiwalu was rightly sent off for a careless and dangerous tip-tackle. Ra Whata was yellow carded for punching.

With about five minutes left Scots turned down a penalty from about 30-meters out on an angle. It was a strange call given Manuao's 50-meter penalty to win the semi-final.

Rotorua dug deep. Willed on by a raucous home crowd they won three ruck turnovers before Hona scored the winning try, as he did in the semi-final on Friday.

There were plenty of missed chances in this blockbuster struggle.
Tofa was penalised for a double movement and was the recipient of a forward pass when over the line.

Thomas Umaga-Jensen was ruled to have thrown a forward pass to wing Joe Boswell when he was in the clear. Boswell later dropped the ball when receiving an offload 30-meters out with nobody ahead.
There were unsung heroes. Locks Tiaki-Toa Harrison and Henry Mexted were warriors for their respective schools. Whiteman has improved considerably and loose head Jesse Williams made some storming runs for Rotorua.
Cruelly Scots end the season without the Wellington, Moascar and National titles they won in 2014. However with a record of 19 wins in 23 games and another National final appearance they have enhanced their growing reputation for rugby.

Fidow ends his First XV career with 49 tries in 60 games. The Umaga-Jensen twins combined to score 58 tries in the last two seasons.

Te Aute played a record 82 games for his First XV. Rotorua finished with a record of 22-3. They scored nearly 900 points in 2015. They are worthy holders of the Barbarians Cup.