The best team in the Coed Nationals and returning National Coed Champs, are they though? Could they repeat it again this year? Feilding HS is no Joke and they produce Rep players every year and also AB’s and so for me like I said before they are the New England Patriots for the Coed Nationals. Feilding HS have been building this Rugby Tradition for the past 10 Years and its is really paying off because they bring results, they win Championships and they produce Pro players that make the AB’s, Why wouldn’t you want to go there?
I have seen Feilding play a few times this year and they are the same as always. They have hard working players, skilled players in some real key positions, they run a forward pack that plays to move forward as a pack and backs that are just skilled runners all day. I want to start with the front rowers and more so with the Props Ethan McQuinlan and Jack Fleury. These two are probably the best pair of combo Props in NZ right now. They both made the Hurricanes U18 team that played the Crusaders U18 and when they play they leave their mark on a team. These two make for a powerful combo where they just physically dominate players when running the ball, at scrum time, cleaning out bodies they just do it all and it really looks like they hurt players when they are playing. When you have two guys like this who really dominate from the front it makes it so much easier for the forwards to get a roll on and take care of their core roles. I also havent mentioned Neihana Hall at Hooker or Leo Wiki as well and they are also guy that back them up in the front row division. So for me the front row is set and Jack Fleury has been out for some weeks but dont know if he’s back yet but I really hope he is because he’s a "Major Key" to this team. Lets look at the rest of the "Tight 5" and for me I think people under estimate the skills that James Bolton brings to this pack. He’s not only a tall kid that really makes so much trouble at line out time but he does his fare share of work in the hard stuff. He is a player that tackles hard, has good position when he is tackling and doesnt get called for killing the ball which is a massive deal. He also makes himself available to take some hit ups to the line and then right back up cleaning out the next ruck. Tk Howden gets over looked a lot but he brings that extra value and grunt that you do need.
The loose forward trio is very interesting and I think they are better then teams give
them credit and attention. They have Lennox Shanks who is a pretty huge kid who I actually think should be the No.8 and have David and Tyler on the sides of the scrum. I think Lennox is the better runner coming off the back of the scrum, not talking fast but Im talking his strength to take that contact and keep his feet and balance to drive forward and make meters. I like Lennox to be kind of out in the midfield and if not there the in real close mixing it up with the tight 5. David Parker I feel is the faster guy off the side of the scrum and because he is so tall and long he can cover more ground and make those tackles as well faster then the other two. I like how safe he plays on defence and makes sure every tackle is made and stopped and a lot of runners dont get those extra meters dragging tacklers. Tyler Moeau is the one to watch out of all because he can do everything and so athletic that he can almost play every position if asked and be good at it. I like his effective ball running and watching him run and get his arms free and not dying to early in the run still wanting to create space for others. Lennox, David and Tyler will be one you should keep an eye out for through out this weekend. They are going to be very strict in their defence these 3 and it really is cool to watch.
The 9 and 10 combos make for solid fit and they have worked well over this year. Griffen I feel like takes care of the go forward with the forwards and waits for the all clear to get the ball out, and the Kody executes out wide with the midfield. I think both players will have a good weekend and they will take control early of the game play the game full width of the field and make the game fast moving. I think Kody will kick the ball early to see how the team reacts and the he adjust to the attack they should go with. Also when you have a player like Josiah Marakau at Center you are going to want to set him up at Center with enough time and space to do what he does. Josiah really can create on his own and I think that he is going to be the guy that carries this team through the weekend with his attack. Josiah also is not a selfish player and so you know that when he has a free open player outside he will create for them to get that break away. Layton Manuel and Coby Osborne will be the ones tha reap the benefits of that talent that Josiah has. Layton brings his own skill set and a kicking game to the back which they will need. Layton, Coby and Drew Wild at Fullback are going to have to work over time on defence because every team can break the line and hit the line hard and so their speed to cover tackle or cover ground is going to be over worked.
Look for Feilding HS to be a very hard team to beat, they know what it’s like to be there, they know whats expected and that the TV Camera’s are not a factor to them. Feilding HS has a massive team full of talent and after their loss in the CNI Final to Wesley College they are pumped and ready to take this Trophy back home up the road. They are playing Rookies Rangitoto College who are hungry to make their National debut so keep watch for that game it will be big.