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Tokoroa Throw Champions a Life-Line

Tokoroa Throw Champions a Life-Line

They’re already calling it the “pool of death” and on a day when Bruce Pulman Park looked more like an aquatic arena, it was Tokoroa High School’s turn to fuel the Pool B feeding frenzy at the NZRL National Secondary Schools Tournament.

After dropping their tournament opener to Tamaki College, the Waikato boys lifted themselves off the canvas to topple yesterday’s giant-killers, Papatoetoe High, 18-12 and keep everyone’s hopes alive, at least statistically.

All three, plus reigning champions Kelston Boys High, are now 1-1 entering the final day of pool play, with just 12 points covering the points for/against spread.

“To be honest, we thought our first game would be a bit easier,” admitted Tokoroa coach Tama Teaukura

“We knew they’d all be tough, but we thought we could build towards a big game on Wednesday against Kelston. Results have shown that Tamaki are strong and we had to lift to another level for Papatoetoe.

“Whether they were still excited about their win yesterday or it was a matter of us playing with a bit of pride, I’m not sure what the difference was.”

Tokoroa found themselves in a very similar position last year, when they upset 2013 runners-up Mt Albert Grammar in pool play, but were headed by Aorere College for a spot in the semi-finals.

The previous year, they had been the highest-placed non-Auckland team in sixth place.

“We’ve been here before,” says Teaukura “We know what it’s like to beat the big teams.

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“It just shows that, in a tournament like this, any team can beat another on the day.”

Kelston now lead that pool on points difference, but even if they were to prevail tomorrow, they need to hope for a close contest between Tamaki and Papatoetoe, if they are to progress to the next stage of their title defence.

Elsewhere, favourites St Paul’s College had their hands full with Manurewa High School, but remained unbeaten, despite losing three players to the sin bin. Otahuhu College and Mt Albert were relatively untroubled in keeping their records intact, defeating Whangarei Boys and Aranui High respectively.

Wesley College continued their march through the development grade, unleashing another 50-point assault on Howick College, with Wetere Pompey crossing for four tries.

Debutants Trident High Schools and Manukura School ensured they will take a taste of victory home from their first tournaments. Trident of Whakatane accounted for James Cook High 24-12, while Palmerston North’s Manukura headed Rosehill College 16-0 in the premiership.


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