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Tough opener for Wairarapa College

Star loosie Adam Gordon on the burst for Wairarapa College. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

By Gary Caffell

Wairarapa College will be in the hot seat when the opening round of matches in the Tranzit Coachlines first XV rugby festival is played at Trust House Memorial Park, Masterton on Saturday.

Earning the right to take on the other top seven colleges in the Hurricanes catchment by placing in the top four of the Wellington secondary schools premier one competition last year, Wairarapa College will front up against Hastings Boy High, rated the number two secondary schools side in the country in 2016 Kick off on the artificial turf will be at 1.30pm, the same time at which Napier Boys and Rongotai will meet on the No 2 ground.

Preceding them at noon will be matches between Palmerston North Boys High and St Pats (turf) and Gisborne Boys High and Wellington College (No 2 ground).

Now coached by former manager Garry Smith and a past Wairarapa-Bush senior rep coach Graeme Cheetham Wairarapa College has a relatively young side with nine of last year’s squad having left school.

A major strength theirs should be the combativeness of a loose forward trio containing Adam Gordon, Chris Dickson and Sam Smith and skipper Joe Gordon is an outside back sure to make his presence felt as well.

The Tranzit tourney will open what will be a big season for Wairarapa College with contesting the Wellington premier one series and then the Co-Ed Cup tourney being their main assignments before they embark on an Australian tour.

With that in mind coach Garry Smith says the Tranzit competition should be ideal an build-up.

“We know we will be up against it but we are going to learn a heck of a lot and be match hardened for the rest of the season.”

Meanwhile, some impressive figures were reported to the annual meeting of the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union on Monday night.

On the financial front there was an operating surplus for the 2016 season of $58,245 while on the playing front numbers had increased 18 per cent since 2012, the Farriers Heartland team had made the Meads Cup semi-finals, the senior B’s had won their RDO Shield competition and the women’s sevens had qualified for the national finals.

College rugby had shown pleasing strength and growth through the advent of their Wednesday competitions and junior rugby was to benefit from more resources and investment in 2017.

Also the Hurricanes had confirmed that their under-18 camp and secondary school sevens competitions would be held at Trust House Memorial Park this year.

Individually, a highlight had been the debuting of referee Rebecca Mahoney on the international scene.

Officers elected

Patron: Eric Kenny. President: Richard Dahlberg. Vice-president: Bryan Weatherstone. Chairman: Tim Nathan. Deputy chairman: Jason Carruthers. Independent and elected board members: Catherine Rossiter-Stead, Paora Ammunson, Dennis Dougherty, Rebecca Sayer. Auditors: Sellar and Sellar.

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