St Peter’s were the big winners, both the Cambridge and Auckland versions of the school.
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The First XV boys’ final for the NZ Barbarians Cup was taken 31-28 by St Peter’s of Auckland, its third national title, after overturning a 21-0 deficit to Napier Boys’ High School.
Inspired by deputy head boy, No 8 and skipper Niko Jones, son of the great Sir Michael Jones, St Peter’s scored no less than five tries in a heady 17-minute period which knocked Napier BHS’ end in after the Hurricanes champions had dominated the opening exchanges.
But St Peter’s raised hope with a try to centre Apetone Vaka on the stroke of halftime. That was set up by Jones, who also set up two others and scored an extraordinary solo try from 60m out. Chris Halaufia’s try, started from 95m out, was quite possible a late candidate for try of the year.
While Napier BHS fought gamely to haul itself back into the game, St Peter’s played it smart tactically to take not only its first Top 4 crown since 2000, but also the coveted Moascar Cup, which Napier BHS had wrested off Christchurch BHS just 48 hours earlier.
Runner-up in 2017, but the queen of the Condor Sevens, Hamilton GHS showed its well-drilled qualities, led by a brace to young prop Vici Rose-Green.
Friday’s semifinals action saw the powerful wind as a decisive factor. St Peter’s of Auckland, again led strongly by Jones, edged Chiefs and Super 8 champs Hamilton BHS 8-7, while Napier BHS was too good, to the tune of 31-12, for South Island champions Christchurch BHS.
St Peter’s (Cambridge) 33 (Cam Roigard 2, Andrew Viane 2, Justin Vela-Reynolds tries; Roigard 4 con) Rangiora HS 26 (Anthony Tavendale, Jermaine Pepe, Angus Fletcher, Rawiri Peita-King tries; Caleb Beck 2 con, Jack Marshall con) HT: 26-7 St Peter’s
Hamilton GHS 42 (Vici-Rose Green 2, Hunter Randle, Lela Ieremia, Kiriana Nolan, Jazmin Hotham, Montessa Tairakena tries; Nyesha Hamilton 2 con, pen) Manukura 7 (Nicola Chase try; Kalyn Takitimu-Cook con) HT: 25-7 Hamilton GHS
St Peter’s (Auckland) 31 (Apetone Vaka, Zyon Holo, PJ Tonga, Niko Jones, Chris Halaufia tries; AJ Faleafaga 3 con) Napier BHS 28 (Jayden Stok, Patrick Teddy, Henry Williams, Tyrone Thompson tries; Keegan Christian-Goss 4 con) HT: 21-5 Napier BHS