Tro­phy win­ners re­joice

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

It’s his­tory in the mak­ing – lit­er­ally. Porirua Col­lege’s first XV have won the pres­ti­gious Beard Tro­phy for the first time in 31 years af­ter de­feat­ing Mana Col­lege 15-5.

Mana was the tem­po­rary holder of the tro­phy, hav­ing beaten 2010 cham­pi­ons Bishop Viard Col­lege in the round’s first game in April.

Win­ners of the tro­phy write a match re­port in a book con­tained in the box-like tro­phy, which has be­come a his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment, de­tail­ing win­ning games back to 1968.

The tro­phy, con­tested be­tween the Porirua basin’s high schools ev­ery year, be­gan in 1964 as an an­nual match be­tween Tawa and Mana col­leges.

Porirua held it for much of the 1970s and 1980s, but since then only for a sin­gle week in 2005, when old boy and Cru­saders’ Rob­bie Fruean led the Porirua side.

Win­ning it is the lo­cal equiv­a­lent to bring­ing home the Ran­furly Shield, says Porirua Col­lege sports co-or­di­na­tor Rachel Fale­maka.

‘‘It’s a big deal here in Porirua,’’ she says. ‘‘Some par­ents were cry­ing over it.’’

The Porirua Park grand­stand was packed with sup­port­ers from both sides at the June 8 match.

The first try was scored early by Porirua vice-cap­tain and sec­ond-five eighth Aukuso Tuitama, but most of the ac­tion was in the sec­ond half, with Porirua scor­ing a fur­ther con­verted try and a penalty.

Mana had op­por­tu­ni­ties to score, but Porirua’s de­fence was just too strong, Mrs Fale­maka says.

They played with pas­sion and mana ac­cord­ing to their motto – ‘‘mind, heart, hand’’, says left wing Jotham Eti­mani. ‘‘It was a tough game. It was a good fight.’’ Work­ing as a team was the magic ingredi- ent for Porirua, hav­ing bonded on an away game in Taupo. Next year’s first XV are al­ready be­ing coached by their el­ders to en­sure the tro­phy stays at Porirua.

‘‘We’ve got to pass on what we learned to the next gen­er­a­tion,’’ Mr Eti­mani says.

Cap­tain and flanker Nu­colm Baker is still buzzing from the win.

‘‘The feel­ing is like win­ning the Lotto,’’ he says.

Dream team: Team­work brought the Beard Tro­phy back to Porirua Col­lege af­ter 31 years, say first XV play­ers Aukuso Tuitama, Nu­colm Baker, Jotham Eti­mani, and Voni­ji­asi Dan­i­cau­cau.

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