St Pat’s Town and Wellington College share sports exchange

Honours were even between St Pat’s Town and Wellington College in their annual sports exchange hosted by St Pat’s town on Tuesday.

The Kilbirnie school won the first XV rugby and the basketball, while visitors Wellington College prevailed in the football first XI and golf.

Under cloudy skies, Wellington College came back from 1-2 down at halftime to win the football match 3-2. Their win was aided by the sending off a Town player. The game didn’t count as a competition match as Cooper Duggan, Sam Adams and John Ross Moyer found the back of the net for the winning team.

The tables were turned in the rugby match, that saw Town come from 3-17 down late in the first half to win 22-17.

Up at the Miramar Links, Wellington College won the golf 2.5 to 1.5.

A vocal crowd packed the St Pat’s Gym to see the home school comfortably beat Wellington 106-68 in the basketball.

Approaching halftime in the rugby, Town was down two converted tries to nil and in apparent disarray.  Prop Jason Seumanufagai (high tackle) and wing Sagele Aukusitino (striking) were both in the sin bin as the hosts ill-discipline handed the visitors a deserved lead.

Wellington College had jumped out to a 10-0 lead, feasting on Town errors. First-Five Jacob Waikari-Jones slotted a penalty before a fumble by Town inside their half led to a sustained attack and a try to left wing Caleb Stanley

A break by fullback Khya Wilson enabled Christian Stenhouse to pull three back for Town, but the wrath of the referee and the inability to handle saw Waikari-Jones bounce over under the sticks to make it 17-3.

However the game turned when Town’s Herman Seumanufagai was unleashed. Fast hands down the short side put the left wing in space and two powerful fends left a trail of destruction as Town closed to within nine following Seumanufagai’s 40-metre stampede.

The second-half was all Town. Taking a leaf out of Herman’s book, the considerably larger Town forwards were more brutish and accurate as the tide markedly turned. Especially telling was the contribution of the bench.

It was Herman’s brother Ronaldo Seumanufagai who had the first say of the second-half. The No.8 and captain muscled clear from repeat phases. Stenhouse converted and it was 17-15.

Noah Tuifao-Galuvao and Michael Taliau were the pick of the exceptional Town reserves. The former was a towering presence in the scrum while the later almost scored a sensational try when he cast aside half a dozen opposites like tenpins, only to treat the corner flag with similar disdain.

Wellington were gutsy, but a try to tighthead Siale Lauki was the inevitable consequence of relentless pressure.

In a game that often defied logic Wellington almost secured a dramatic late win. Stanley beat his marker from five metres out and was only stopped in a head high, yellow card tackle by Eti Anae Brown past halfway. From the penalty Wellington hammered away inside the Town 22 only to concede a penalty.

Hooker Christopher Bramley and No.8 Ridge Studd were tigerish for the runners up who crucially lost second-five Patrick Malu and open side George Murray to injury. Murray was blue carded in the 20th minute.

Herman Seumanufagai was easily the most damaging figure, but Ronaldo led by example and centre Boston Hunt had some nice moments. Halfback Setefano Paese was energetic, if not always precise while lock Rory Woods was the only reliable source of line out ball and an effective carrier.

Town won the fixture for the 46th time. Wellington have had 80 wins and there have been five draws since 1885.