Viard Col­lege rugby back in top grade

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - LIAM HYSLOP

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.

PHOTO: JOE SERCI

Bishop Viard Col­lege’s Philip Filipo is tack­led by Tawa Col­lege de­fend­ers re­cently. Viard won 17-13 to qual­ify for premier 1.

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