St Mary’s 1st XV Rugby Team are national champions
St Mary’s 1st XV rugby team are national champions after beating Hamilton Girls 29-12 in the epic final played in Palmerston North on Sunday 10 September.
The Wellington school were clinical as they claimed the Hine Pounamu Cup, with their defence particularly impressive.
After putting 50 points on defending champions Southland on Friday, Hamilton came in as the red hot favourites.
But St Mary’s wasted little time making their mark on the game.
They had the best of the early running with Dhys Faleafaga, a usual No 8 who started the game at second five-eighth, carving off some big carries.
That early dominance culminated in a try to wing Te Araroa Sopoaga.
But Hamilton came storming back with prop Rianna Ahokava featuring heavily in their charge down field. Paj walker was the benefactor with the try.
St Mary’s pushed back with a try to centre Ainsleyana Pulieta.
Then Faleafaga continued her starring influence with a try to put her team up 17-5 at the break.
While Hamilton came out firing in ten second half, St Mary’s was up to the task on defence.
When prop Marianne Leota crossed for St Mary’s 10 minutes into the half, they had one hand on the trophy.
But Hamilton refused to lie down.
Hooker Lena Mitchell scored from close range to keep them in the game.
But St Mary’s put the match to bed when Pulieta grabbed her double.
Hamilton chased hard late with Jazmin Hotham looking dangerous, but they could not string together enough phases to secure the win.
St Mary’s College 29 (Ainsleyana Pulieta 2, Te Araroa Sopoaga, Dhys Faleafaga, Marianne Leota tries; Cheyne Copeland 2 con) Hamilton Girls’ High School 12 (Paj Walker, Lena Mitchell tries; Nyesha Hamilton con) HT: 17-5