College sport: Familiar foes St Kents and Auckland Grammar face off in 1A First XV final

By Campbell Burnes

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

For the third year on the bounce, St Kentigern College and Auckland Grammar School lock horns in Auckland's 1A First XV final.

St Kents are the three-time defending champions and have lost just one 1A match since 2011, a 26-20 upset against Otahuhu College in this year's round-robin phase.

They are strong favourites, having beaten Auckland Grammar 29-20 just a fortnight ago. In last weekend's semifinal, they outclassed Sacred Heart 24-14. Much of their play revolves around experienced halfback and captain Sam Nock, and they have strike weapons out wide in centre Braydon Ennor and fullback Patrick Herbert, who also kicks the goals.

In the pack, St Kents will look to young men such as openside flanker Dalton Papali'i and tighthead prop Sesimani Tupou.

Auckland Grammar can thank a dramatic last-second Wiseguy Faiane drop goal for their 24-22 semifinal win over St Peter's. In the pack they lean on powerful locks Sam Ulufonua and Connor Wihongi, not to mention captain and No 7 Robert Harris.

The backline has burgeoning talent and a more than useful midfield of Matt McKenzie and Rieko Ioane. Loketi Manu is capable of cutting capers on the wing, and Shaun Stevenson chimes in from fullback while also slotting the goals.

The venue for today's game is Western Springs Stadium and kickoff is at 2.30pm.

In Thursday night's North Harbour 1A final, Westlake's last-gasp try gave them a 26-20 victory over arch-rivals Rosmini. A full report will be in Wednesday's College Sport.

- NZ Herald

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