WAIRARAPA College have earned themselves a second successive season in the Wellington premier division secondary schools first XV rugby competition.
And they did it in style, scoring 11 tries and walloping Onslow College 59-0 to complete a hat-trick of victories in grading round games they had to win if they were to remain in the top grade.
After having been solid rather than spectacular in their previous two successes Wairarapa were looking to show greater consistency against Onslow and in the words of coach, former Wairarapa-Bush rep Chris Senior, they could not have played better in a first half which saw their quick, structured play put Onslow to the sword. Isaac Bracewell at halfback was especially outstanding with his pace and speed to the breakdown, providing much of the early momentum to the Wairarapa attacks.
By halftime it was something of a one-horse race with Wairarapa leading 37-0, Shaiane Daniels having scored two of the tries and others going to Edward Frost-Henry, Ryan Hargood, Tua Levi and Sam Smith.
In the second spell Onslow upped their intensity and they were aided and abetted by Wairarapa losing their shape to some degree.
But the home team's defence held their opposition out and they were good enough to score four further tries themselves, these going to Joseph Gordon, Chester Rothery, Guy Percy and Callum Pritchard.
While pleased with the result, coach Senior warned his team would not be getting too carried away as the opposition to come in the premier grade would be far superior.
He said it was disappointing his side had not maintained the first half effort through the full course of the match.
"This has been an ongoing issue for us this season and it's something we have to solve if we wish to be competitive in the top grade," Senior said.
Wairarapa College will play their traditional first XV fixture against Napier Boys' High School at Wairarapa College today, starting at noon, and then will face the might of Wellington College in their first competition game. Wairarapa College will be one of only two co-educational schools in the premier division, the other six being the traditional boys' schools from Wellington.
Meanwhile, Wairarapa College in general have benefited from the generosity of Wairarapa Building Society going into a 2016 season which has an extra 35 students playing rugby this season.
WBS has provided six new training balls for each of the Wairarapa College teams and are also the major sponsors of the junior colts squad.
The latter competes in the Manawatu under-15 A grade while a newly formed girls' team (combined with Chanel College) is also playing in the Manawatu competition.