Scots College face new challenge at home

Scots College will not be able to ease back into the local rugby scene following their Japanese venture.

They will meet a physical Hastings Boys’ High team at Petone on Saturday, in the final round of the first XV festival, and a week later will put the Moascar Cup on the line against St Pat’s Town.

The large Scots squad arrived back in New Zealand last Friday, after playing six games in eight days.

Some of the players were feeling the effects of a testing schedule but will have little time to dwell on their bruises or the disappointment of failing to make the final at the Sanix world youth tournament.

The New Zealand team had won the five previous tournaments but Scots were only third best last week.

They were beaten 34-8 in their semifinal clash with Brisbane Boys’ College, who in turn went down 35-3 to Paul Roos Gymnasium, from South Africa, in the final. Paul Roos scored 316 points and conceded just 16 over the tournament.

Scots scored seven tries when claiming third place with a 45-7 win over Truro College, from England, in the playoff for third and fourth.

“We had played really well leading up to the semifinal but in the semifinal we didn’t fire a shot,” Scots coach Filo Tiatia said.

“We lost Henry Mexted in the warm up and that unsettled the group. He is the head boy and one of our leaders. But that also gave opportunities for others to step up.

“The team was pretty upset after the loss but came back well in the third and fourth playoff.

“There are a few bumps and bruises and a bit of jetlag. They were a little slow when they trained on Monday morning but we are looking forward to the game against Hastings and then defending the Moascar Cup.”

Scots will be missing first five-eighth Josh Wilson and outside back Joe Boswell this weekend, through concussion, with skipper Peter Umaga-Jensen among the options to fill in for Wilson.

Umaga-Jensen played mostly at full back in Japan but also had a couple of games at centre.

“He can cover a number of positions and he’s growing everyday with his leadership,” Tiatia said. “His work rate [in Japan] was outstanding.”

Hastings beat St Pat’s Silverstream 31-10 in the opening round of the first XV festival, before going down narrowly to Feilding High School last weekend.

Silverstream became the only Wellington team to record a win over the first two rounds when beating Gisborne Boys’ 19-10 last weekend.

 “Gisborne are a big side and it was a very gutsy performance,” Silverstream coach Rob Ackerman said.”Some of our young players stepped up against their big pack and will learn a lot from the game.”

Ackerman was also impressed by the contribution from the senior players Asafo Aumua, Tarquinn Alatipi and skipper Losi Filipo. “They are game-breakers.”

Alatipi, who is playing at second five-eighth, has previously concentrated on his league career and had not played rugby for Silverstream since the under-14 grade. “He’s a class act,” Ackerman said.

St Pat’s Town, who had been well beaten by Gisborne the previous week, showed improvement when going down 30-22 to Napier Boys’, with coach Glenn Donaldson impressed by his pack. “The boys did really well up front.”

Wellington College, who have struggled in the pre-season games, went down 38-19 to Palmerston North Boys’.

The final games to decide the makeup of the Wellington premier one grade will be played on Saturday, with Rongotai, Wairarapa College and Tawa in the box seat in their respective pools.

Hutt International look less secure and need to beat Porirua to retain a place in the top grade.

Wairarapa took an important step towards premier one when beating Bishop Viard 34-25 last weekend.