Mate Manesa scoring for the Makoura College First XV. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

RUGBY

JAKE BELESKI
jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Makoura College capped off another unbeaten season by winning the Wairarapa-Bush First XV rugby competition on Wednesday night.

The 48-35 win over the Wairarapa College Second XV secured a second title in two years for the school, and in both seasons they managed to get through without losing a match.

Coach Chris Senior had led Carterton to the premier club rugby final against Gladstone a week earlier, but this time he came out on the winning side.

“It’s back to back for us too which is quite cool, and we’re undefeated in two years which is a nice touch.

“It’s really special for a lot of the players – it’s a nice atmosphere for them and quite a special way for some to finish their school rugby.”

Defence is often secondary to attack in first XV rugby, and so it proved in the final as both teams looked to play an entertaining match.

Makoura looked dominant in the early stages and held a 17-7 lead early in the match, but Waicol got themselves ahead 19-17 late in the half.

By halftime Makoura had snuck back in front, and they managed to build a decent lead by the end of the contest.

About half the Makoura team were part of last year’s success, and Senior said it was great to stay at the top after rebuilding this year.

“Defence can sometimes go out the window in these games.

“For big chunks we managed to hang in there which turned the game in the end, and as long as we were ahead on the scoreboard, that’s all that matters for these guys.”

Senior has a close connection with Waicol, having coached the school’s first XV before taking over at Makoura last year.

He also coaches a Masterton Red Star under-10 team, and said he was thrilled to see his players earn their success.

“It does bring a lot of their families together and past players as well – we had some former players helping us on the sidelines.

“It’s nice to be able to give these guys a chance of making rugby an opportunity for them, where they can make a career or get some success out of it.”

In Wednesday’s Wairarapa-Bush Under-15 final, Rathkeale College Green secured a hard-fought 22-15 win over Rathkeale College White.