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Game Review: Rotorua BHS vs St Johns (Hamilton)

Rotorua BHS 35 – 26 St Johns College (Hamilton)

Raukura made a stop off in Hamilton to play St Johns College as part of the Chiefs Cup. Coming back from Japan as part of the Sannix World Rugby Youth Tournament they were tired and jet lagged but still came away with the “W”. This was my first Rotorua Boys game for this year and I knew with the talent that had left from last year that this year would be hard to maintain that level. The first part of this game was back and forth of heavy hits and big solid running bending the line and both teams trying to dominate each other. I felt that the first few minutes of this game was about St Johns making a statement to Rotorua Boys that they belong with the best in NZ, and Rotorua really trying to get back on their feet and on a positive step after returning back from Japan.

Tonight I watched the match ups of the future kind of thing because I already know Kaleb Trisk is good and one of the top 1st 5/8’s in NZ so I was kind of watching the future. The first match up was the Center’s Nakoa Marcroft St John’s College vs Hayze Perham Rotorua BHS who were both REAL strong against each other. You have to keep in mind that both these guys are only Year 12 this year and they right up there with the best midfielders in the country. Hayze showed up first with Rotorua spreading the field and Hayze getting a lot more touches driving the ball into their line bending it. Nakoa had his shot back at him with foot work and an off load getting the ball to his team mate. They both were back and forth more so late in the game and Hayze really touching down for a try as well. The other match up I liked was the loose trio’s cause the Rotorua loose trio were very solid and physical and year 13 and St Johns all Year 12 players but they went back at them every time trading big hit for big hit and big runs for big runs. Jack Quinn Open Side for Rotorua Boys looks like he could really challenge for that NZSS Jersey if he comes back. He was all over the field and with his height and length he was able to get hands on the ball every time and his speed and quickness got him to the break downs. Right there with him RKelly Rush was also making hits and also getting into the rucks trying to get a hand on the ball and RKelly really stood out running with the ball and fighting off tacklers. Blind Side Matangireia Yates-Francis at Blind was a solid tackler with his one on one tackles and you could hear that impact on the side line. Shammah Solomona Blind Side for St Johns was also taking on the line a lot breaking through the line a couples of times and dragging players.

The game was very physical but fast paced at the same time. Both team were throwing a lot into it and really showing up wanting to get the win. Rotorua won it for me because they were not playing up to anyone they were just playing the game that they worked on and worked for. Where’s on the other side St Johns dropped the ball for a try all he had to do was catch the ball and trip up and he would have scored. They also dropped a try in the corner late in the 2nd half that could have got them closer to beating Raukura but again just dropped it cold. I feel like both times they players dropping the ball had that quick thought of “YEAAHH scoring against Rotorua Boys and we can go into the lead” but then Casper the Ghost came and knocked the ball away and no try for you.

There is no question that right now St Johns belongs in the top part of the Rankings were all the big boys live but they have to believe that they deserve to be there too. Rotorua for me and what I saw tonight just reconfirm to me that the Super 8 is the best Comp this year. Raukura could get there again this year.

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