Silverstream fight mental battle in Hurricanes Final

https://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/sport/college-sport/96228146/st-pats-silverstream-ready-for-the-mammoth-task-of-taking-on-hastings-boys-high-school

Most teams are beaten before they even step foot on a rugby field against Hastings Boys’ High School.

The team carries an aura of invincibility about them, stemming from the way they destroy most teams they come up against. Their lone loss in the last two seasons was last year’s national championship final against Mt Albert Grammar, although they drew 12-12 with Hamilton Boys’ High School in this year’s Super 8 final, with Hamilton winning the title by virtue of scoring the first try.

So this week’s training for St Patrick’s College, Silverstream’s first XV, who meet Hastings in the Hurricanes region final on Saturday, has been as much about the mental side of the game as the physical.

“There are going to be moments where it’s pretty uncomfortable. We need to be ready to compete hard and that will be the No 1 focus for the week, that mental preparation,” Silverstream coach Tim Mannix said.

The toughness of Silverstream’s task comes into focus when you stack up the formlines from the last few weeks.

Silverstream beat Wellington College 17-11 in the WelTec Premiership final on August 20. Wellington were beaten 78-0 by Hastings on Saturday in the Hurricanes region semifinal, with Kini Naholo, the brother of All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo, bagging five tries.

Silverstream themselves had a comfortable win, on paper anyway, in their semifinal, beating Palmerston North Boys’ High School 50-22 at the Hutt Recreation Ground.

But they were only up 19-17 at halftime playing into a stiff breeze, before running away with things in the second spell.

“The second half we were able to utilise that wind to get some good field position and put some pressure on them. That turned into points,” Mannix said.

“It was pleasing the way the boys executed things in the second half.”

The second half has given them confidence heading into this weekend’s match in Palmerston North. As does their unbeaten record, although Mannix was the first to admit Hastings’ schedule was tougher than theirs.

Mannix said the key to beating Hastings would be to limit their opportunities.

“They’ve got some guys who can score points, as their record would show, so the longer we can hold the ball the better the game will go.

“They really like to spread you across the field and stretch you and if you don’t match up they’ll attack that space you’ve left open. So for us it will be about trying to counter that.”

Win, lose or draw on Saturday, Mannix said it had been a successful season for the team, who captured their first Wellington title since 2012.

“We knew at the start of the year we had a good group of players, but sometimes it’s not always easy to hit your potential.

“I feel like we’ve done that in many ways, we’ve won all our six traditionals, we won the premier competition and made it to this final.

“It’s nice to be able to look at those achievements and however things go on Saturday there will be a lot of satisfaction with what we’ve achieved.”

Meanwhile, defending champions St Mary’s College will meet Manukura in the girls’ Hurricanes final. St Mary’s were defaulted to in the semifinal by Feilding High School, while Manukura beat Aotea College 20-17.

Porirua College will fly the Wellington flag in the co-ed final against defending champions Feilding after being defaulted to by Wairoa College in their semi. Feilding beat Wairarapa College 43-18.

AT A GLANCE

What: Hurricanes region secondary schools rugby finals

Where and when: Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North Saturday 2 September

Who: St Patrick’s College, Silverstream v Hastings Boys’ High School at 2.40pm

Porirua College v Feilding High School at 12pm

St Mary’s College v Manakura at 11.30am