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Two losses don’t tell the full story

Wairarapa College halfback Isaac Bracewell launches an attack against Hastings Boys High. PHOTO/SUZANNE OLIVER

They might have had two losses in as many games but Wairarapa College have not been disgraced in their debut season in the Tranzit Coachlines first XV rugby competition involving arguably the top eight secondary schoolboys teams within the Hurricanes franchise.

A first up 46-7 loss to Hastings Boy High a fortnight ago was followed by a 44-3 defeat by Palmerston North Boys High on Saturday and while the end results may suggest otherwise Wairarapa College has been competitive throughout the first half on both occasions.

Against Hastings Boys, the No 2 ranked rugby school in the country last year, they actually led 7-5 heading into the second quarter while against Palmerston North Boys High they trailed by just 8-3 at halftime.

For Wairarapa College coach Garry Smith the most pleasing feature of his team’s efforts to date has been their determination to overcome a lack of size compared to their opposition through physical intent, especially in the forward exchanges.

“We always knew size would be a problem but the guys haven’t let that intimidate them, they’ve got stuck in from the word go.

“The defence has been quite outstanding at times.”

Attacking-wise too Wairarapa College have had their moments.

The only try they did score against Hastings Boys was one of the best of the game while against PNBHS a couple of tries might well have been scored had just one more pass been made.

“When you are playing teams of this sort of calibre you are up against defensive structures which are awfully hard to crack and we haven’t been quite efficient enough to do that on a regular basis,” Smith said.

The fact Wairarapa College’s standard has tended to falter slightly when changes are made to the starting XV through the course of their matches hasn’t been lost on Smith either.

“I think it’s fair to say the impact players haven’t quite made the impact we would like them to make, and that’s something we need to work on.

“You like to think fresh legs will make a positive difference, don’t you?”

Individually it has been the loose trio of Sam Smith, Adam Gordon and Chris Dickson who have been the standouts for Wairarapa College while halfback Isaac Bracewell and second-five Denny Lauvi have impressed in the backs.

Saturday’s round of matches was highlighted by the massive 106-7 defeat inflicted on St Pats Town by Hastings Boys High while Napier Boys High beat Wellington College 15-0 and Gisborne High School defeated Rongotai College 34-7.

The final series of matches will be played at Porirua this coming Saturday with Wairarapa College up against Gisborne Boys High.

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