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St Paul's Re-take the Title

St Paul's Re-take the Title

The curtain came down today on a very busy and successful 2012 National Secondary Schools Rugby League tournament. And the tournament finished in style, with Auckland Grammar taking out the Developing Schools final in a tough extra time encounter against local tournament host school Papakura High. In the Premiership Schools final, last years winners Otahuhu faced off against St Paul’s, a school which until last year’s golden point loss had practically owned the title and they were able to once again make it their own.

Earlier in the day matches were played to find the winners of the Cup – Papatoetoe High School, Plate – Tokoroa High School and Bowl – Tangaroa College. Then after a play off for third and fourth between Sir Edmund Hillary College and Kelston Boys High School, won by Sir Edmund Hillary 28 – 20 the number one field cleared in preparation for the first major final of the day.

Auckland Grammar and Papakura High School lined up in the tunnel before making their way onto the field for the National Anthem sung by NZRL staff member Carmen Taplin. They each followed with rousing haka before the game got underway. It was an exciting match played in front of a large crowd of supporters which in the end came down to the final moments when Papakura attempted a drop goal only to miss. With the scores tied at 12 all, it was, as with last years Premiership final, time to find the golden point winner.

Papakura had Auckland Grammar pinned on their line and attempted a drop goal which missed, hitting the upright and bouncing back into their hands. Papakura then spun the ball wide to the wing attempting to capitalize on the moment of confusion, with a player crossing the line in the corner. Unfortunately their celebrations were premature, the referee had not awarded the try and they were called back for a forward pass.

The crowd were understandably tense as they waited to see what would happen next and within moments Grammar were down the other end of the field where they were awarded a penalty which was kicked by No 6. Renata Roberts-Tenana and it was Grammars turn to celebrate their close fought win 14 – 12.

Auckland Grammar 14: Tries Joshua Minhinnick, Tevesi Tuinauvai, William Finaulahi; Penalty Renata Roberts-Tenana
Papakura High School 12: Tries Josh Harris (2); Conversions: Arthur Crichton (2)

Papakura were extremely gracious in defeat, singing their team song ‘If You’re Happy and You Know it’ for the benefit of their many supporters and being thanked in turn with a haka.

Auckland Grammar supporters were understandably thrilled with their win, the school is well known for their rugby prowess and with this first up rugby league tournament final win, they can now start building their own league dynasty as well.

By the time the grand final kicked off the crowd was huge, with people standing rows deep to watch this battle of the heavy weights. St Paul’s had the wind behind them, and to use a well worn expression it quickly became apparent that they had come to play. St Paul’s scored first and lead from there, although Otahuhu scored a try to take the score to 6 – 4 early in the first half they simply couldn’t keep up with St Paul’s forwards and St Paul’s also made full use of the strong wind at their backs. The second half was quiet with St Paul’s scoring once to take it to 24 – 4 but Otahuhu unable to make any real headway against the bigger and more experienced side which pushed them backwards in both attack and defense.

St Paul’s had massive sideline support and there was no doubting that the win meant a lot to them when the final hooter went. When they went on stage to accept their award they too were recognised by their supporters with a haka.

Winner of the Jim Doyle Player of the Day, Premiership Final - Toafofoa Sipley
St Paul’s 24: Tries Pharoah Tumupu (2), Scott Tofa-Timoteo, Toafofoa Sipley, Koki Godinet Conversions: Tupou Tapuaiga
Otahuhu 4: Try Kalolo Saitaua

Two tournament awards were also presented on the final day with the Bill Sharp Golden Boot, for most successful kicks during the tournament presented to Renata Roberts-Tenana, Auckland Grammar and the Watties Most Valuable Player of the Tournament going to the very popular Michael Ki of Papatoetoe High School.

It's been a very busy week for all the teams, with five days of back to back rugby league interspersed with off field activities including a Leadership workshop, visits to local Primary schools and the Warriors facilities, position specific coaching clincs and more. With a tent village providing entertainment before, during and after matches, Bruce Pulman Park has been an exciting place to be for players and fans alike and feedback from the players, their parents, teachers and team management has been overwhelmingly positive. We look forward to seeing everyone back there in 2013.

To see details of all the finals visit the website here.

Finals Results - Friday
Premiership Schools
ChampsOtahuhu College 4vSt Paul's College 24
ChampsAuckland Grammar 14vPapakura High School 12
CupPapatoetoe 24vManurewa 22
CupMt Albert Grammar 18vSouthern Cross 26
PlateTaita College 14vTokoroa 26
PlateMt Roskill Grammar 20vWhangarei High 14
BowlAranui 0vTangaroa 58
BowlAorere 28vJames Cook 32
Developing Schools
Points PlaySir Edmund Hillary 28vKelston Boys High 20
Points PlayFraser High 22vCentral Southland College 30
Points PlaySt John's 14vTamaki College 26
Points PlayHowick 34vKamo High 12


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