School XV claim Te Kani Shield

Te Puke Times - - SCHOOL SPORT - By STUART WHI­TAKER

news@tepuke­times.co.nz

Be­lief is help­ing Te Puke High School’s First XV reach heights never be­fore seen at the school.

The school’s top rugby side has won the Bay­wide sec­ondary school chal­lenge tro­phy — the Te Kani Shield — for the first time ever.

The first phase of the sea­son saw the side win the Toi Ohomai Bay­wide Sec­ondary Schools sec­ond di­vi­sion fi­nal and with it pro­mo­tion to di­vi­sion 1 after 12 sea­sons of try­ing.

Their first game in the top flight was against shield hold­ers Tri­dent High School from Whakatane with the game be­ing won with a late penalty kicked by Lester Olive.

Coach Jackson ReubenSwin­ton says the im­por­tance of last Satur­day’s win wasn’t only in tak­ing the shield but also in re­spect of the step up to di­vi­sion 1. “Win­ning that first game was quite im­por­tant for them be­cause what it showed them was they are more than ca­pa­ble of play­ing at that level,” he says.

He has fo­cused on im­prov­ing the play­ers’ con­fi­dence.

“They didn’t think they were good enough to be there, but I’ve man­aged to get that out of them.”

He says his fo­cus has al­ways been on the pos­i­tive.

“I’ve put some tight struc­tures [in place] and we are cre­at­ing a team en­vi­ron­ment which only builds play­ers — we don’t con­cen­trate on any neg­a­tives at all. Any­thing that needs to be talked about is a ‘work-on’.”

Te Puke’s first half points came from a con­verted try to Te Ri­iti Karaka Clarke and a penalty Jack Hollinshead.

Full back Olive scored an in­ter­cept try that was con­verted by Hollinshead to level the scores at 17-17 be­fore Olive struck the win­ning penalty goal.

A stand out game by winger Wiremu Hey­blom saw him awarded the player of the day.

“Tri­dent are a very strong side whom has been in the Bay of Plenty Sec­ondary Schools 1st XV first di­vi­sion for some time now re­ally put Te Puke 1st XV un­der a lot of pres­sure,” says Reuben-Swin­ton.

Cap­tain Zac Proc­tor says it was a proud mo­ment to be handed the shield after Satur­day’s game and says it will pro­vide ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion to the team in the first defence at home to Ro­torua High School Bar­bar­ians on Satur­day at noon.

The Te Kani Shield was gifted by Paora Te Kani’s fam­ily after he died in bat­tle in Tu­nisia in 1943.

Since then it has been played for be­tween Bay of Plenty sec­ondary schools. It is sim­i­lar to the Ran­furly Shield, al­though con­tested at home and away matches.

The chal­lenger must win the match to win the shield. The shield has long been in the grips of Ro­torua Boys’ High School and Tau­ranga Boys’ Col­lege.

In 2013 Ro­torua Boys de­cided to give it to their 2nd XV to de­fend, which they did suc­cess­fully.

The shield is on the line each time the hold­ers play.

Te Puke High School First XV vice cap­tain Jack Hollinshead (left) and cap­tain Zac Proc­tor with the Te Kani Shield.

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