Rugby

Hawke's Bay Today - - Sport -

The flag­ship women’s Hawke’s Bay Tuis fu­ture looks promis­ing if the re­cent per­for­mance of Hast­ings Girls’ High School is any­thing to go by.

HGHS first XV have re­turned from the Youth­town Con­dor Na­tional Sec­ondary Schools’ Sevens, bow­ing out in the semi­fi­nals of their maiden out­ing in what is con­sid­ered the pin­na­cle of teenage com­pe­ti­tion.

“They had ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions and col­lected valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence along the way,” says coach Thomas Te Pou af­ter last week’s two-day ac­com­plish­ments.

They lacked ex­pe­ri­ence but were ea­ger to do their whanau and prov­ince proud, says Te Pou of the school­girls who stayed at Te Tira Hou Marae in Pan­mure to pre­pare for the tour­ney.

They played three matches, cul­mi­nat­ing with the fi­nal game against last year’s un­der-15 girls’ cham­pi­ons, Kerik­eri (North­land).

Stung first up in a Tau­ranga tour­ney ear­lier, the Bay girls didn’t al­low their first match be­come their un­do­ing. They beat

In­gle­wood (Taranaki) 20-7 with Lil­lie Spencer ex­celling in ruck­ing with nu­mer­ous turnovers.

Af­ter a two-hour break, the HGHS over­whelmed Taka­puna (Auck­land) 30-0 in a game where new­bie Raedeen Blake ex­hib­ited vi­sion and smart op­tion-tak­ing.

Kerik­eri proved to be an arm wres­tle but HGHS cap­tain Te Aira Te Pou’s power run­ning spear­head a 15-5 vic­tory for a top-eight fin­ish.

HGHS reloaded against Kerik­eri, the sec­ond-best qual­i­fiers, but cap­tain Te Pou was out be­cause she had to sit the NCEA-level Ma¯ori exam.

Un­fazed, the HGHS dis­patched the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons again, 15-12, with Ra­hera Heke as­sum­ing the man­tle of cap­taincy.

It wasn’t a pretty game with nu­mer­ous turnovers but Kerik­eri drew first blood al­though HGHS replied with two tries ow­ing mainly to Phoeni­cia Te Rito’s fancy foot­work. Kerik­eri came back with a con­verted try to lead 12-10.

How­ever, coach Te Pou went to his trusty bench to strike from the the blind side for the win­ning try and HGHS’ maiden Con­dors quar­ter-fi­nal brag­ging rights.

But their run came to an abrupt halt in the semi­fi­nals, even with the re­turn of their cap­tain, when a struc­tured, fast and fit Lyt­ton High (Gis­borne) crushed them, 44-5.

Thomas Te Pou thanked co- coach and for­mer Black Fern Emma Jensen, the whanau and fans who trav­elled to Auck­land to watch the “Fu­ture Ferns”.

“Lets hope these girls con­tinue play­ing well and move to wear­ing the Black and White of the Hawke’s Bay Tui’s in the near fu­ture,” he says.

Kick­boxer Lu­cas McA­dam sows off the Ocea­nia Junior Cham­pi­onship belt he won in Bris­bane.

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