I have been to more St Peters School games then any other school this year and so I feel like I know them pretty well and what they are capable of on the rugby field. They are led by a very good coaching staff as a whole and the boys certainly do know how to follow a game plan and make it work for them. This team has really picked up a lot in the last few years and they have been building on the talent they have recruited and I think they can get to a stage in the next 3 year or so where they can really make a push at Hamilton BHS if it keep tracking the way it is right now.
Here is what I have like about this team and it’s not something that most teams would do, but they moved their Star No.8 Ollie Norris into the front row as a Prop which made way for James Thompson to move from Lock to Blind Side and Andrew Viane to go from 6 to 8. This is what it’s done for the team it has made the front row better and more mobile and now Zion Lui or Patrick Lui can change and keep a big boy on the field at all times and they can run at 100% and play their best rugby. Ollie in the front row gives them a lot more mobility in the sense that he can run the ball a lot, having another flanker on the field means a quicker and more active front row doing work. Ollie can still get his share of hit ups on the field and in play. Having Andrew Viane and Ollie in running role in different parts of the game is a massive deal and one that cane break a game open. Andrew for me should be having at least 7 play run for him through out the game, his effect on the game is massive and he’ll create breaks all the time. Peni Finau is also a runner that should be taken care of cause even he makes a massive difference when he gets the ball, but the best thing is that Peni does a lot of the hard work to go a long with it and having James Thompson on the Blind for me has made him an even better player and his role has really increased and his productivity as a defender even better. James plays very physical kind of out of control a bit but I like when you flirt with that line of control and "Im gonna get you". Devin Gregory will be important on the open side making those defencive plays and shut down tackles that he does flying around the field. I think he has got a lot in him as an open side but I really think he can do more. I think James, Andrew and Devin as a loose trio can be a real stand out this weekend and so I hope they stand up and bring their best game cause they could be the big turning point for their National Title run this year.
This back line is fire and it is led by 1st 5/8 Kaea Hongara who has moved into 1st 5/8 from fullback which i think is his best position but he has a done a surprisingly good job adjusting from the Fullback role. He makes sure they play a game that is always moving forward and he is picking off runners wave after wave. I like that he can play a kicking game too setup by his running style. Kaea can really run the ball as well and he can make breaks in space but has managed to do the same even from the 1st 5/8 position. What makes it easier as well is that he has 2 explosive runners that bash the line and punch holes into the midfield. Paula Mahe and PJ Latu are just really big assets in the
back line both with the ball and on defence. Paula is a solid runner that breaks tackles all the time and is used as a crash ball runner that breaks the line and sets up on coming runners off his shoulder. Pj is a great support runner off Paula and you see him all the time speeding past calling for the ball from Paula and it pays off sometimes, you will also see guys like Andrew and Peni doing the same thing and those are dangerous plays, ones that end in 7 points. Both midfield players are excellent defenders and they lock down their opposites and make things very hard for other teams on attack. The back 3 are really going to have to work hard at this Nationals, they are not the biggest 3 actually they are the smallest I have seen all year to be honest but they are all very quick players that know how to keep within their range of running, they play smart and Bodie Mechell has a very good kicking game enough to get them out of trouble and thats important.
I really like their chances of making the Finals on Sunday and have STAC up first and that should be a real interesting game to watch. St Peters have been here before and they know what this is all about and they want to get into the finals and win and make up for last year.