City win first encounter with Country
Secondary school rugby may be over for another season but in the Waikato there’s still a battle on to determine who’s the best between city and country.
Matamata College students Henry Pou, Dylan Deed and Jake Roa were selected for the Waikato Country Under 18 rugby squad to play their Hamilton city counterparts.
The country team lost to city, 20-16, at Bedford Park in the first of two games. The two meet again on Wednesday in Hamilton.
Speaking before the first game, Henry and Jake said the games were always ‘‘really physical’’.
‘‘I was in the country team last year and it was massive, because I was the youngest, 17, and there were players a lot bigger than men,’’ Henry said.
‘‘So it’s tough physically but also mentally.’’
Henry said he enjoyed the challenge and experience the annual fixture gave players and will be looking to make a big impact playing at centre for the final match.
‘‘I just like the close contact, playing at centre, you have to be really fit.’’
All three Matamata players featured in the college’s 1st XV this year but admitted the season produced some mix results.
Jake Roa hopes to use his time in the Country team to improve his skills playing fullback.
‘‘I was on the wing last year but at fullback you get to use your speed but also get more involved. You take control more, make decisions defence.’’
Jake said his favourite player to watch was All Blacks winger Nehe Milner-Skudder.
‘‘Although he’s on the wing, he’s amazing on attack, he’s spontaneous, and good on defence.’’
Dylan Deed proved his versatility with the college 1st XV this and organise the year with stints playing halfback, wing, fullback and then first-five. He wasn’t sure where the Country coaches would like him to play but he had some ideas of his own.
‘‘I think it’s a matter of which position I’ve got the most experience in.
‘‘I would say that’s halfback and fullback. But I would like to develop at first-five a bit more this year.
‘‘It’s a good position to play because you’re running the moves, in the thick of it all.’’
The country team comprises players from Cambridge High School, Forrest View High, Morrinsville College, St Peters, Te Awamutu College, Putaruru Col- lege, Tokoroa High School as well as Hautapu, Leamington Otorohanga Pirongia and Whatawhata rugby clubs.
The city team draws its players from Hamilton Boys’ High School, St Johns College, Hillcrest High School, St Paul’s as well as Hamilton Marist Rugby Club and Waikato University.
Matamata College students Jake Roa and Henry Pou have been selected for the Waikato Country rugby team to play Hamilton City.