Superb finals footy and totally professional with it.
Opposing supporters asked where the elation and celebration was after Hastings Boys High School's 1st XV rugby side booked a second consecutive National Top Four final with their 29-10 semifinal win against St Kentigern College of Auckland in Palmerston North yesterday. They were politely told this has been the Hastings side's style all season.
The job isn't complete until the back-to-back Hurricanes champions beat the Chiefs champions and the team they shared the Super 8 title with, Hamilton Boys' High School, in tomorrow's 2pm final at the Sport and Rugby Institute in Palmerston North.
"All the boys are hyped and excited about the final," fullback Danny Toala explained afterwards.
"We didn't watch much of Hamilton's game ... we've played them twice this season and know what to expect," he said referring to Hamilton's 49-0 demolition job on South Island champions Southland Boys' High School in their semifinal.
Toala, who scored 19 points, like outstanding No 8 Devan Flanders, was close behind openside flanker Jeriah Mua in the battle for player-of-the-match honours against the Blues champions. He succeeded with five of his seven attempts at goal in a tricky wind and his outstanding 50th-minute try after a spectacular break from centre Dennon Robinson gave the Hastings team a 24-3 lead which the Aucklanders were never going to recover from.
"It was a pretty good game and being able to slot those kicks in a gusty wind like that ... I couldn't be happier," Toala said.
"Our dominance at the breakdown and our line speed on defence were the key factors in the win and we were able to pick up the tempo in the second half."
When quizzed if there were any major work-ons for the side to address before tomorrrow Toala said it would be securing combinations if classy Hurricanes under-18 halfback Folau Fakatava was ruled out with his knee injury collected just before halftime and his deputy Shamara Brooks had to step up into the starting role. Hastings manager Jason Bird said Fakatava would be given until as late as possible to pass a fitness test.
"We have a lot of confidence in Shamara doing the job if Folau can't play. One of our priorities this year has been building depth so we maintain momentum when injuries occur".
Bird agreed superb composure and defence when under the pump was instrumental in his troops' victory.
"We had a few lapses on defence but coped at the appropriate time."
Mua scored two tries and had a strong presence at the breakdown. Hastings scrum was dominant and once again captain Kianu Kereru-Symes and fellow prop Josiah Tavita-Metcalfe were powerful on the carry.
"This feels pretty good but hopefully we can get one more win in the final," Mua said.
"Preparation equals performance and I got my preparation right today. We had to be aggressive at the breakdown because we knew St Kentigern were strong over the ball," he added.
While winger Kini Naholo didn't add to his season try tally of 40 he displayed how much his defensive work had improved this season with at least three try-saving tackles. Second five-eighth Jordan Thompson-Dunn also impressed with his defensive reads.
First five-eighth Lincoln McClutchie shone with his tactical nous with and into the wind. There's no doubt about it ... if Hastings can play like this again tomorrow they will be hard to beat.
Openside flanker Mitchell Gibson had a huge workrate for St Kentigern College.
Heartstopper: The knee injury collected by Hastings halfback Folau Fakatava just before halftime. It will be a major blow if he misses the final.
Turning point: Fullback Danny Toala's 50th-minute try which gave Hastings a 24-3 lead, too big a deficit for the Aucklanders.
Player of the match: Hastings openside flanker Jeriah Mua. Two tries and full of authority at the breakdown.
Scorers: Hastings Boys' High School 29 (Jeriah Mua 2, Danny Toala tries; Toala 4 pens, con), St Kentigern College 10 (Rivez Reihana try, con, pen). HT: 19-3.