Sports this year was up and down with Covid-19 disturbing the normal sporting calendar. A highlight though was the re-establishment of a popular sporting code within our school community. Over the last five years, we have not managed to have a fully functional football team in our college.
A big motivator to get this back up on its feet is one of our new teachers, Simon Petersen, a footballer himself hailing from Castlecliff United, a local football club here in Whanganui. With a football enthusiast leading from the front we now had a foundation to grow the sport here at Cullinane.
With a lot of promotion, we had 15 players sign up this year which was a great feat, giving our students another opportunity to play. From here, the Cullinane Warriors as they were called, practised week in week out going through the season undefeated. We look to next year in hopes of creating an U16 team as most of our players will be moving into the senior school. A big thanks to parents and students for assisting with football this season.
1st XV Rugby
Rugby has been one of the main sporting pillars here at Cullinane for some time now. It has grown over the years with more of our students wanting to play.
This year we had 24 boys in our 1st XV, this is the biggest squad we have seen over the last couple of years. As soon as we came out of lockdown level 4, the team were straight into it. We started the season with a traditional game against our fellow Marist school Hato Paora which hadn't been played since 2014.
This was a great way to kick start the rugby season with the game coming down to the wire with Cullinane winning in the last minute, 27-20. The next eight weeks had the boys training hard and playing hard going through the regular season undefeated. With Covid-19 dropping a speed bump in the rugby season, the final was played under level 2 restrictions against Whanganui High School at Cooks Gardens.
With all the effort put in by the boys during the season their experience and mana saw them crowned as Manawatu champions, winning 31-22 going through the season undefeated. Big shout out to Cornell Mason from Ratana who has coached the team for the last two years, we are forever grateful for your services to rugby here in our kura.
Cullinane College girls' rugby continues to grow and has had a hugely successful year in 2020. In 2019 the squad size was 17, which included six year 9 students, who competed in the local Whanganui Girls' Rugby 7s and 10s Competitions.
When the college had their initial muster training in early March, before level 4 lockdown, 26 girls attended the training. This included 10 year 9 students, with 17 of these 26 players being under 15 years old.
As a result, coach Ivan Syme looked further afield to the competition in the Manawatu region and entered the college into the Manawatu Girls' 1st XV competition in terms two and three. This gave the girls more opportunities to play the game and improve their skills. The team had good success with wins over Queen Elizabeth College, Palmerston North Girls' High School and Freyberg High School.
This success continued in term 3 in the local Whanganui 10-a-side competition. This competition had four teams in it and consisted of two round-robin games of competition. The team had convincing wins against Whanganui City College and Ruapehu College for both round-robin matches.
This meant the team faced Whanganui High School in the final, which was held at Spriggens Park. The team won this final by 24-19, which included a second-half double by year 11 front-rower Waimarie Whanarere. The captaincy of the team by deputy Head Girl Maze Thompson-Koro and year 12 student Aigalelei Leo for both the Manawatu and Whanganui competitions has been a key to the team's success. They have been great role models for the younger students at the college to follow.
With so many players being in the under-15 age bracket, the college entered a team into the two-day Hurricanes under-15 girls' rugby tournament in Levin during winter tournament week. The team had good wins over Horowhenua College and Mana College and placed 6th in the tournament.
The under 15 team are also competing in mid-December at the Condor Nationals Under 15 Girls 7s rugby tournament, which is a first in the college's history for girls' rugby. The team have been playing in the Manawatu competition during term 4 and have had some good competitive games against Manukura and Feilding High School as part of their build-up to this tournament.
Cullinane College girls' rugby looks forward to building on the success of 2020 as 2021 approaches. The college will enter a girls' open 7s team in the local qualifier so they can gain entry for the Condor National Tournament to be held in April 2021. The college will also look to enter another Under 15 girls' 7s team for this tournament. On top of this, the college will still enter both Manawatu and Whanganui competitions with the number of students participating increasing again next year.