Try time . . . Denny Lauvi scores for Wairarapa College against San Patricio. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV
By Gary Caffell
New Wairarapa College first VX rugby coach Garry Smith is a realist.
While pleased with the way his team performed in their 41-10 win over a Argentina’s San Patricio Rugby Club under-18 side at Memorial Park on Saturday morning he knows they have a much bigger mountain to climb come next month.
That’s when they will contest the hugely-competitive Tranzit Coachlines Festival Tournament, an invitation they earned after finishing in the top four of the Wellington secondary schoolboys premier division competition last year.
Joining them there will be the other three highest-ranked Wellington sides, St Pat’s Town, Wellington College and Rongotai College and four of the powerhouses of the secondary schools game in this country — Gisborne Boys High, Hastings Boys High, Palmerston North Boys High and Napier Boys High.
Securing victory over any of those sides would be a massive feather in the cap for Wairarapa College but while he isn’t about to predict how they will fare Smith has taken confidence from their early-season showings, first against a Kapiti College side where they drew 33-33 and then against the St Patricio squad who had a clear size advantage.
“Obviously, it’s early days yet and there is plenty of scope for improvement but I think we are heading in the right direction,” Smith said.
In the St Patricio encounter Wairarapa College impressed with the linkage between forwards and backs in attacking situations.
Smith said this connection was very much a continuation of a policy which proved so successful for them in 2016 when he was manager and they were coached by Chris Senior, who is now head coach of the Carterton club’s premier men’s team.
“Chris had them playing a style of rugby which involved all 15 players and we won’t be making any changes in that respect,” Smith said.
“We might not be as big as most teams but hopefully we can make up for that by being smarter and quicker.”
The format for the Tranzit tourney is that all eight teams will play at the same venue on the same day over three successive weekends and the first cab off the rank is Memorial Park in Masterton on May 6 where Wairarapa College will confront Gisborne Boys High.
Then will come games against Hastings Boys High on May 13 and Palmerston North Boys High on May 20.
Important as this competition is for Wairarapa College, their main objective in 2017 is to retain their high standing in the Wellington premier division series which this season has been increased from eight to 10
Smith believes the Tranzit tournament should be the ideal build-up for that.
“It should have us hard and fit, no question about that.”