Tri­tons bring back Gwynne Shield

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PET­RICE TAR­RANT

Af­ter a week of tough, phys­i­cal en­coun­ters the South Waikato Tri­tons can claim to be de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons in the Gwynne Shield.

Bring­ing home the shield for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year was no mean feat for the un­der-13 side.

Held an­nu­ally in the July school hol­i­days, the week-long tour­na­ment sees 10 teams from the Waikato re­gion com­pete for top place.

The tour­na­ment be­gan in 1921 and the shield is re­turn­ing to the South Waikato for the 20th time.

Tri­tons are selected from play­ers that are year 8 and un­der, weigh in un­der 57 kilo­grams and are from within the South Waikato. Coach Hamish Al­lan said this was the first time many of the play­ers got a taste of rep­re­sen­ta­tive rugby and some would con­tinue on to be selected for Waikato tri­als.

This year Al­lan was joined by Noora Manu, Greg Draper and Richie Tau­mata on the coach­ing bench, all with vast rugby ex­pe­ri­ence and a true pas­sion for youth rugby in the com­mu­nity.

The young side played all teams within the first six days and from game one to game nine huge im­prove­ments were made.

Al­lan said the for­ward pack made ex­cel­lent head­way and con­tin­ued to utilise their key play­ers across the field.

The team fin­ished top for points by Fri­day, ce­ment­ing a spot in the grand fi­nal on Sun­day against Hamil­ton Wasps.

‘‘This was a highly an­tic­i­pated game as we had lost to them both in pre-sea­son and on our first day at tour­na­ment. From pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters the team was qui­etly con­fi­dent that a few changes would help get the shield back home.’’

The 60-minute fi­nal was well con­tested and in­tense right from the start with both teams lay­ing on great at­tacks. At half­time Tri­tons led 15-0, but they knew the Wasps would try to strike early in the sec­ond half.

The team lifted their per­for­mance and the re­sponse was in­stant.

Some at­tack­ing flare had Tri­tons come away with a con­vinc­ing 34-17 win.

Cap­tains Justin Reti and Toso Pa led the way all week, their ex­pe­ri­ence show­ing from hav­ing played in last year’s fi­nal.

As well as win­ning the shield, Tri­tons took out the Rowan/Baird Tro­phy for the high­est plac­ing coun­try team.

First-five Toso Pa was selected for the Ross South­combe tro­phy for the top rangers area team player and also won the Top Tri­tons player of the tour­na­ment.

At the con­clu­sion of this tour­na­ment a coun­try and city side were selected to trial for the Waikato Roller Mills team. The fol­low­ing were selected for the Coun­try team: Justin Reti, Toso Pa, Dar­nel Ahsin, Star Thomp­son and Pareiha Kingi – all in­flu­en­tial play­ers through the week.

The Tri­tons club will head into the un­der 45 kilo­gram Bow­ers Cup with an un­der-14s and un­der­15s team. See de­tails on their Face­book page.

Win­ners again: The South Waikato Tri­tons Gwynne Shield team has once again won the Waikato week-long tour­na­ment and de­fended their ti­tle.

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