Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Rugby: Boys' College hold on in nail-biter

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Tauranga Boys' College winger Steven Masters scored two tries in the win over New Plymouth Boys' High School on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner
Tauranga Boys' College winger Steven Masters scored two tries in the win over New Plymouth Boys' High School on Saturday. Photo / Andrew Warner

Tauranga Boys' College First XV just held on to beat New Plymouth Boys' High School 28-24 in a pulsating Super 8 rugby clash at Nicholson Field on Saturday.

The win over the visitors from Taranaki who upset Hamilton Boys' High School last week is immense in the development of a young and determined Tauranga Boys' side that wore pink socks as a mark of respect for their mothers.

The stiff wind blowing directly down the field played a huge part in proceedings with Tauranga leading 28-5 at the break.

But they were unable to score again as New Plymouth won the second half 19-0 with their well-drilled pack in command and the classy boot of first-five Brodie Lilley carving off chunks of territory.

As well taken as the three New Plymouth tries were in the final 30 minutes of play, the undoubted highlights of the match were the four dazzling tries scored in a withering 19-minute burst in the first spell by a rampant Tauranga Boys' outfit.

An early Tauranga handling error coughed up the ball to New Plymouth, allowing winger Michael McDonald an easy run to the line to open the scoring before the fun started.

Tauranga second-five Manaia Harawira took the ball to the line before popping the perfect ball for winger Steven Masters to take the gap and score. A minute later centre and captain William Ngatai made a slashing break to again put Masters in space who scored untouched under the bar.

New Plymouth then left a gap from a messy lineout 50m out that halfback Leroy Carter gratefully took, sprinting away from the defence and then winning the chase in-goal to his clever kick ahead.

The shell-shocked New Plymouth team went further behind after Tauranga first-five Jake Malbon made use of the massive in-goal area to win a kick and chase for the fourth try.

With Cole Forbes slotting all the conversions for a 28-5 lead it looked all over at halftime.

But New Plymouth were having none of that and quickly took control after the second half restart with the wind advantage.

They were helped no end by two yellow cards given to Tauranga players for slowing the ball down, meaning New Plymouth had a man advantage for 20 of the 35 minutes played in the half. Three tries in 30 minutes put New Plymouth to within one more try of victory but in the final five minutes there were plenty of heroes for Tauranga Boys' as they put their bodies on the line for a meritorious win.

In the Super 8 Second XV clash, Tauranga Boys' defeated New Plymouth Boys' 36-18.

Tauranga Boys' College First XV 28 (Steven Masters 2, Leroy Carter, Jake Malbon tries; Cole Forbes 4 cons) New Plymouth Boys' High School First XV 24 (Michael McDonald, Bradley Slater, Louis Duffels-Des Forges, Kaylum Boshier tries; Jahmari Weir 2 cons) HT: 28-5.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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