Rugby: Taranaki wins two from three

Central Taranaki played in the finals for the Linkhorn Cup, McLeod Shield and Taranaki Trophy on Friday and brought two of the coveted titles home.

Stratford Primary secured the Linkhorn Cup with a win over Puketapu and Toko School beat Norfolk Primary for the shield. Last year's Taranaki title holder, St Joseph's Stratford, could not make it two in a row, with St Joseph's Hawera on Friday winning the closely fought final.

Stratford Primary won the Linkhorn Cup for the first time since 1999, beating Puketapu in the final 57-29 in a thrilling match at Yarrow Stadium. The Linkhorn Cup is a competition for schools with a roll over 250, with no weight limit. Rhys Hodge (Eltham) and Chaos Price (Marco) joined the Stratford team for the competition. Overall, the team played four games and had a record of four wins, 263 points for and 55 against.

The boys have worked really hard, training every Wednesday after school as well as in school on a Thursday. A fantastic result for the school," says coach Nathan Ransfield.

The Stratford team's final match of the year is on Friday, in a local derby against St Joseph's Stratford. Toko School's Year 7 and 8 rugby team defended the McLeod Shield for the first time against Norfolk Primary School.

Playing on the number one field at Yarrow Stadium, Toko put on an impressive display from the start, only allowing one try across the line from Norfolk.

During the game Toko racked up a score line of 100-10 by the final whistle. Jack Hartley-Gilmour added five tries to the total score, followed closely by hat-tricks from Hanley Setu and Guy Bridson.

The Toko School team was coached by George Cole and Wayne Salisbury.

"An excellent display of young rugby talent and skills all round from both teams on the day," says the school's Shannon O'Brien.

Nowadays the shield is played for by 10-aside teams in barefeet for children under 60kg. It is open to schools in Taranaki with a roll of less than 150.

In the Taranaki trophy rugby finals both teams played their hearts out, but the last few seconds proved to be the clincher, with St Joseph's Hawera winning by three points.

The final score was 46 to the Hawera side and 43 to the St Joseph's side.

- Stratford Press

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