Silverstream setting the pace in Premiership 1st XV Competition

Sunshine or rain. Hard and fast or wet and muddy.  It doesn’t appear to faze the St Patrick’s College, Silverstream, First XV rugby team, who marched to their third consecutive Wellington Premiership rugby win over Wellington College on Wednesday in their annual traditional.

Defending champions and last year’s Hurricanes region finalists, Silverstream beat Wellington College 46-0 – a record win between the two schools going back to their first encounter in 1931.

This followed opening competition wins over St Bernard’s College (49-17) and Wairarapa College (64-12), both away from home.

In a previous recent home game, Silverstream beat New Plymouth Boys’ High School 22-10 under blue skies on a heavy field.

Silverstream play six annual traditional fixtures. In the past 12 months they have achieved three records wins with Plamerston North Boys’ High School (71-0) and St Bede’s College (56-0) also beaten by record scores.

Conditions on Wednesday were the polar opposite of that which greeted them and their supporters against New Plymouth.

Iona Apineru is Silverstream’s blindside flanker abd head prefect. Afterwards he was satisfied with his teams’ execution.

“I think we were able to adapt to the conditions really well, and change the game plan slowing the ball down to suit,” Apineru said afterwards.

“We like to play wide on the nice dry fields, so when it comes to this we just try not to push the passes and keep it tight and if opportunities come they come.”

The first opportunity of the match came after only several minutes when they went wide from an attacking lineout and two phases later powerhouse loosehead prop Chris Hemi crashed over.

Silverstream were to score four more first half tries and lead 27-0 at halftime. They scored again early in the second half, from a textbook lineout drive in the corner and there was no coming back for Wellington College.

“I think our lineout hasn’t been very good over the past couple of years, so that is something we have been working on, both defensively and on attack, added Apineru”

Apineru was part of a strong Silverstream pack that also dominated their Wellington College opposites in general play, himself scoring one of the first half tries.

A highlight was a bulldozing run by prop Hemi that led to a try to Fritz Raysai in front of the Old Timers’ function on the southern pavilion.

As well as Apineru and Hemi, others in the pack to play well included fellow prop Luke Chisholm and lock Neyla Masima, who also scored a try.

Apineru paid credit to Silverstream’s outside backs in consistently finishing off chances that the pack creates.

The outside back division includes Rocco Berry, a Player of the Match in Silverstream’s 26-14 pre-season win over Gisborne Boys’ High School at Westpac Stadium, and Fritz Rayasi, younger brother of All Blacks Sevens player and old boy Salesi.

Silverstream now have a week off before playing Rongotai College in their next midweek traditional at Rongotai next Wednesday.

For Wellington College’s part, they are young, small and clearly need a confidence boost. Their next competition game is next Saturday against St Bernard’s College, but before that they play Christchurch Boys’ High School at home on Tuesday.

Apineru has strong family connections. His oldest brother Anaru Rangi plays hooker for the Melbourne Rebels and has been talked about as a Wallaby selection, while his other brother Nev plays prop for Wellington Premier club Upper Hutt.

“I always follow his games, there’s some brotherly rivalry there!”

“There is still a lot more to improve on, and hopefully we push through to the finals and go deep again this season,” Apineru concluded as he headed inside for a hot shower and a warm drink.

In addition to rugby Apineru has played league and competed in dragon boating where The Silverstream senior team achieved 94 wins in a row. Iona is a member of the Wellington Rugby Academy. Silverstream halfback Swadye Brightwell is deputy head boy and captain of the boarding house.

Silverstream appear to be the leading title contender in Wellington, but Napier Boys’ High School will be hard top topple for the Hurricanes prize. On Tuesday, Napier beat Scots College 33-7 to complete a quartet of victories against the top four Wellington teams this season and the 2017 semi-finalists.

Meanwhile, Wellington College won the First V basketball 76-51 the First XI football 1-0 – scoring an extra time goal. Wellington College are the reigning basketball champions while Wellington celebrated their second football win against Silverstream in 2018.

– Article Courtesy of College Sport Media