College Sport: Westlake looks across the bridge

By Campbell Burne

North Harbour’s school rugby giant thinks its teams can do better in the tougher Auckland competition.

The Westlake Boys High School First XV rugby team perform a haka before taking a midwinter swim at Takapuna Beach. Photo / Brett Phibbs
The Westlake Boys High School First XV rugby team perform a haka before taking a midwinter swim at Takapuna Beach. Photo / Brett Phibbs

North Harbour's top rugby school is to move several of its junior grades to Auckland next season - a decision that has upset the union's school circles.

Westlake Boys' High School is seeking to shift up to four of its teams across the bridge in a bid to get a higher standard of rugby for players.

The First XV will continue to play in the North Harbour 1A competition.

Perennial favourites Westlake face close rivals Rosmini in tomorrow's final for the third year in a row.

In recent seasons Westlake, a rugby giant in its own backyard, has struggled to cope with the winner of the Auckland 1A competition in the Blues regional playoff, and has lost some promising players over the bridge.

Westlake's juniors will get better rugby in Auckland, where the Auckland 1A is a more exacting, intense competition than the Shore version.

But they would play for North Harbour rather than Auckland in representative games.

There is also the ongoing discussion about a possible greater Auckland-wide rugby competition in various grades, and perhaps even ultimately at First XV level.

Several college sports, notably cricket and football, compete under one banner at premier level, and are not split along North Harbour-Auckland lines.

Westlake principal David Ferguson hopes rugby takes the city-wide option.

"Rugby is a very important sport for us and we take it seriously," he said. "This would of course test our competitiveness and ability.

"But we wouldn't want to go alone. We enjoy playing in the North Harbour competition, and we want to be competing at the highest level. It would be nice if there was a city-wide competition."

Informal talks led to an approach to the Auckland Secondary Schools Rugby Union. But there was no opening in the Auckland 1A competition, which has had 12 teams for many seasons.

Auckland schools union chairman Jim Lonergan is relaxed about Westlake's plans in principle, saying his organisation is looking at one grade across the three regions next year and expanding other grades, while generally seeking to boost stagnating junior numbers.

But he did not envisage any immediate changes to the 1A competition.

"We are by far the biggest first XV competition in the country," he said. "We'd be loath to do damage to that."

The proposed Westlake move would have to be ratified before both schools' unions have their annual meetings in October.

Lonergan's North Harbour counterpart, Lester Dallow, says North Harbour schools are largely against Westlake's plan.

"We are worried about weakening North Harbour rugby," he said.

"We do not want that."

Dallow has concerns about travel issues and the depth in junior grades if there was a city-wide competition. But Dallow says there is little the North Harbour schools union can do without a constitutional overhaul.

Rosmini, which some say would have every reason to try to follow Westlake across the bridge, has no plans for such a move.

"We've been very clear from the get-go. We've hitched our wagon to North Harbour, and have no inclination to go over the other side," said principal Tom Gerrard.

Gerrard said the notion that players have to be in Auckland to further their careers is false.

"The good players will rise to the top," he said.

Rugby
Auckland 1A semifinals:
St Kentigern 24 (Patrick Herbert, Braydon Ennor, Kayleb Milne, Joseph Mitai tries; Herbert 2 con) Sacred Heart 14 (Daniel Tupou try; Josh Baverstock 3 pen) HT: 19-5 St Kentigern
Auckland Grammar 24 (Brook Wilson, Wiseguy Faiane, Melino Fineanganofo tries; Shaun Stevenson 2 pen; Faiane dropped goal) St Peter's 22 (Harry Plummer, AJ Lam, Jordan Trainor tries; Trainor 2 con, pen) HT: 16-10 Auckland Grammar
North Harbour 1A semifinals: Westlake 48 Orewa 6, Rosmini 7 Massey 7 (Rosmini advance to final, having the higher position on the points table)
Counties premier final: Wesley 30 Manurewa 10
Auckland 1B championship semifinals: Aorere 35 Macleans 15, Dilworth 42 Mangere 3
Auckland 1B plate semifinals: Tamaki 9 Avondale 6, Mt Roskill Grammar 22 Pakuranga 8


Football

Auckland boys' senior
Premier league: Auckland Grammar 1 MAGS 0; St Kentigern 4 Macleans 0; Sacred Heart 2 Westlake BHS 2; Glendowie 0 Kelston BHS 0
Senior A1: Rangitoto 1 King's 0; Kristin 2 Takapuna 1; St Peter's 2 Onehunga 0
Senior A2: Northcote 1 Avondale 0; Rutherford 9 Pakuranga 0; Mt Roskill Grammar 3 Papatoetoe 0; Long Bay 1 Western Springs 0
Senior A3: Botany Downs 1 One Tree Hill 0; Kingsway 6 Green Bay 1; Waitakere 4 Howick 0; Albany Senior High 1 Lynfield 1
Senior A4 Top 5: Massey 3 Selwyn 2; Dilworth 2 Parnell 1

Counties Manukau boys' premier
Championship: Pukekohe 3 Aorere 3; Rosehill 1 Strathallan 0
Plate: Ormiston 4 Manurewa 3; Al Madinah 5 Edgewater 4

Auckland girls' APC knockout
Premier division 1 (U19): MAGS 3 EGGS 0; St Kentigern 5 Takapuna 0; Diocesan 1 St Mary's 0; Rangitoto 1 Macleans 0; Onehunga 2 Massey 1; Westlake GHS 2 Rosehill 0
Premier division 2 (U19): Baradene 3 Whangaparaoa 0; Green Bay 2 Botany Downs 0; Pakuranga 6 Avondale 5; Pukekohe 4 Western Springs 0; Marist 2 Long Bay 1; Glendowie 2 St Cuthbert's 1
Premier division 3 (U19): Howick 2 Pinehurst 0; Northcote 2 Waiuku 0


Netball

Auckland
Premier: EGGS 34 Diocesan 17, MAGS 55 McAuley 23, St Mary's 30 Massey 29, Avondale 32 Botany Downs 31, St Kentigern 46 AGGS 28, Baradene 24 Aorere 24
Senior A: St Kentigern 37 King's 31, Howick 34 Waiuku Gold 14, MAGS 22 Macleans 21, Onehunga 37 Baradene 37, AGGS 48 Marist 25, St Cuthbert's 29 Sancta Maria 23

North Harbour
Premier championship: Carmel 22 Kristin 21, Westlake GHS One 42 Whangaparaoa 24, Rangitoto 50 Westlake GHS Two 23
Premier flight: Albany 26 Carmel Two 22, Long Bay 36 Orewa 17, Rangitoto Two 22 Takapuna Grammar 22
Open A championship: Long Bay 35 Rangitoto 27, Wentworth 38 Whangaparaoa 20, Pinehurst 31 Northcote 22
Open A flight: Orewa 35 Takapuna Grammar 17, Kaipara 35 Carmel 27, Mahurangi 24 Rangitoto 21

Counties Manukau
Premier championship: Alfriston 46 Rosehill 25; Pukekohe Gold 37 Tuakau 18; James Cook Puutake 25 Manurewa 13; Strathallan Navy default to Wesley
*Pukekohe Gold win the premier championship, with Alfriston runners-up


League

Counties Manukau Under 85kg open boys' grade: James Cook 28 Tangaroa 10, Alfriston bye


Hockey

SuperCity
Boys' one: King's 3 Westlake BHS 2; St Kentigern 2 Kristin 0; Auckland Grammar 4 Rosmini 0; Rangitoto 3 MAGS 2
Boys' two: Takapuna 3 Macleans 2; Westlake BHS Second XI 5 King's Second XI 1; Sacred Heart 4 Pakuranga 0
Girls' one: Westlake GHS 3 EGGS 2; St Cuthbert's First XI 2 Rangitoto First XI 1; St Kentigern 1 Kristin 1; Diocesan First XI 4 Carmel 0
Girls' two: Northcote 1 Baradene 1; St Cuthbert's Second XI 4 Westlake GHS Second XI 2; Rangitoto Second XI 3 King's 0; Botany Downs 5 St Mary's 4


Basketball

Premier girls: Rangitoto 62 Westlake GHS 59; St Kentigern 69 Avondale 60; Henderson default to Massey
Premier boys: Rangitoto 113 Rosmini 41; St Kentigern 106 Avondale 62; Auckland Grammar 88 Onehunga 62


Lacrosse

Auckland boys: Mt Roskill Grammar 5 St Peter's 3
North Shore boys: Rosmini 8 Pinehurst 3; Westlake BHS 16 Orewa 1


Table tennis

Auckland A premier grade knockout championship:
Auckland Grammar A 4 Pakuranga A 0, Macleans A 4 Macleans B 1, Auckland Grammar B 4 Auckland International College A 3, Macleans C 5 St Kentigern A 2

- NZ Herald

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