Centurions U18s retain title as Wellington Development draw with Tasman


There were two Wellington teams playing in Blenheim today, where the Wellington Development team drew 47-47 with their Tasman counterparts and the Wellington Maori side defeated Tasman Maori 45-0.

The Centurions U18s with the spoils.

At Cooks Gardens, Whanganui, the Centurions U18s defended the Trust Bank Central Secondary Schools Provincial Rugby Tournament Shield with a dominant 47-12 win over the home side in the Hurricanes U18 tournament final.

The Centurions overcame an early yellow card to centre and co-captain Sage Shaw-Tait and a lopsided penalty count against them to dominate the Junior Butcher Boys in most facets and win comfortably.

Playing with the aid of a gentle breeze on a sunny afternoon at the Carvery, the Centurions had the game won by halftime when Shaw-Tait handed the final pass to try-scorer Elijah Lakai to give them a 33-7 lead.

After losing the Scots College centre to the sin-bin, the Centurions climbed straight into their work when his school teammate and No. 8 Sione Halalilo cut straight through some weak defence at first phase from an attacking lineout to score the first try.

Halalilo was in again soon after when the Centurions punished the home team for not finding touch from a penalty, running the ball back and Porirua College lock Jabez Peniata handing a final pass to the try-scorer.

Halalilo then scored his hat-trick after 20 minutes, after the Centurions ran the ball back from the kick-off and Hutt Valley High School first five-eighth Richard Evans offloaded a nice transfer to the bustling No. 8. OBU Halfback Sam Champion added the extras for a 21-0 lead.

Whanganui hit back with a try of their own, fullback Beau Horrigan making a ghosting run from an attacking scrum to score in the corner and first five-eighth Te Atawhai Mason converting from the sideline.

Normal service resumed for the Centurions, keeping the ball alive for a minute and Tawa College fullback Bill Tamani going close after one of several flashing runs he was to make all game and from the next phase flyhalf Evans setting up Studd for their fourth try and a 26-7 advantage.

Lakai scored on halftime to make the game safe for the Centurions.

The opening several minutes of the second spell were scrappy, before the home side gave themselves a glimmer of hope by scoring their second try of the match through left wing  Ioane Aki off who ran on to a stab kick by Mason that sat up in his favour.

Like they had done in the first half, the Centurions struck back emphatically, fullback Tamani making an electric burst but brought down, efficient recycling and a try scored to replacement halfback Jono Little.

Both sides made numerous changes and the game lost its structure over the final 10 minutes. Whanganui went close to scoring another try but the Centurions’ strong defence and fast line speed made it difficult for them to break through. They turned the ball over and Shaw-Tait had the last say when he ran 60 metres to score the final try of the afternoon.

In the playoff for third and fourth at Palmerston North, the Wellington Samoans U18s beat the Poverty Bay U18s 27-7.

The two Wellington U16s teams were in action in the Hurricanes U16 competition, with the Wellington U16As beating Wairarapa-Bush U16s 67-5 and the Wellington U16s Development beating Whanganui U16s 38-10.


The Wellington U16s enjoyed a first-up competition win over Wairarapa-Bush. PHOTO: Andy McArthur.


The Wellington Lions and Wellington Pride teams meet Auckland sides on Sunday: 

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