ST. PAUL’S COLLEGIATE
Being the champs doesn’t guarantee a thing for a new season and coach Gibbs knows all about it – he has about a dozen spots to refill from last year’s winning squad. Built around the cornerstone of defence, the St. Paul’s mantra around the paddock is to keep it simple and with this comes the clarity that aided them to go unbeaten through the 2015 roundrobin with the equal most tries for and least against. Gibbs knows there’s improvement to come and has highlighted the breakdown as an area for some touch ups. He has a head start there. In Connor Gordon – the lad he calls “a tough hombre” – he has the prototypical New Zealand openside, strong and courageous in equal doses. The only side to tip up Feilding High last year (twice), it helps they have some electricity in the backline too with hot stepper Della Neli and whippet Tom Yarrall back again for their Year 13. Neli’s quick feet and secure defence earned him a Waikato Sevens squad call up and Yarrall ran a cool 11.33 at last year’s 100m Nationals when he wasn’t one of Northern District’s emerging cricketers.