Viard College rugby back in top grade
Bishop Viard College are determined to make the most of their return to Wellington premier 1 first XV rugby.
Viard won promotion with a gutsy 17-13 win over Tawa College in their final grading game on May 21.
The team’s assistant coach, Peter Savelio, said Viard would go in with all guns blazing.
‘‘We can’t aim for anything less or you’ll get burned. We’re gunning for every single team,’’ he said.
‘‘We potentially have a great team here and they’ve just got to believe in each other.’’
Savelio knows what it is like to reach the summit of Wellington college rugby – he was in the Viard team that won four consecutive premier 1 titles from 1990 till 1993.
This year’s champion side all played together in under-15s, as the 90s team did.
Senior players Dylan Patu and Dorian Tato lead the forward pack, and young first-five Denzel Leota marshalls the backline and speedy winger Roy Maiava has yet to find an opposite he can’t beat.
The team have lost the experienced Adam Tone with a fractured shoulder, but none of their stars left the squad, even when the big teams came calling in the offseason, Savelio said.
Last year, Viard dominated premier 2, winning all 11 games, including beating St Bernard’s 27-24 in the final.
They also won the Wellington Co-ed Cup, before losing to perennial champions Feilding High School 33-8 in the Hurricanes region final.
Viard like to run the ball from all parts and many of their players could produce individual moments of magic, Savelio said.
‘‘I’ve always thought you should never train out the magic in a player. The ball running skills and stuff, back in the day it was typical Fijian rugby we liked to play and you don’t want to coach that out of the boys now.
‘‘We work on some set plays and set pieces, but on the day, if they’re feeling it, they’re going to go and that magic gets them over that line.’’
The top four premier 1 sides from last year – Scots College, St Pat’s Town, St Pat’s Silverstream and Wellington College are in rebuilding phases. Those four plus Wairarapa College, Rongotai, St Bernard’s and Viard make up premier 1 this season.
Bishop Viard College’s Philip Filipo is tackled by Tawa College defenders recently. Viard won 17-13 to qualify for premier 1.