HBHS 1st XV win Sanix Semi Final
The HBHS 1st XV are through to the tournament finals after beating Tokai University Gyosai School 43 - 0. The try-scorers in the match were Orbyn Leger, Poasa Cama (2), Shanan Tomuri (2), Sevu Reece and Viliami Tuipulotu. Orbyn and Sevu added two conversions each. The team will meet the South African team in the final, after they accounted for the French team in a 37 - 5 win. More information as soon as it comes to hand, and we wish the team the very best of luck as they head into this all-important match. For a detailed report on today's action, we present Number 18's take on the semi final win. Enjoy!
Day 7 Konichiwa!
I wake this morning to the soothing tones of the usual snorers and grab my notebook. My notes from last night remind me of my goals for the game today and my stomach turns a little as the thought of playing in the semi-final hits home. Tokai University Gyosie High School are no slugs and the last Japanese team left in the tourney. On the other side of the draw is the clash of the titans where the South Africans play France. Everyone is talking about the South Africans – Paarl Boys. When I hear them talking Afrikaans around Global Arena it reminds me of my old Maths teacher Mr Killian….but not quite so loud. Their tight 5 are huge with both props seeming like a cross between a rhinoceros and Ben Tamiefuna. Their No.7 has been very dominant and their backs are quick and accurate but without a lot of creativity. No one has come close to matching them so far but we all know what the French can be like on the day. No use worrying about them though…as the coaches say “if you look too far ahead you’re bound to trip up on what’s right in front of you”.
After breakfast we head to the gym for our team run. We run through our plays slickly and head back to the dorm confident about today’s tactics. I settle back in my bunk and listen to my sounds. Strapping time comes around quickly and the Doc takes a look at a few of my injuries. We also have the use of a local physio ‘Kaz’ and his mate who is an acupuncturist. Both have been a great help in keeping us on the field and boy do we need them.
The warm up is a bit average and it feels like we all are suffering from the tough game schedule. A couple of quick reminders from the coaches kicks us into gear. We hit the sheds, playing jersey on and a final word from our captains. Shanan has the honour of leading our haka today and he nails it.
Tokai are well-organised and up for the game. Slowly but surely we wear them down and expose cracks in their defence. Orbyn has been a rock for us at first-five and this game is no exception. He dictates play superbly and his accurate goal kicking is a real bonus. Kalani is impressive at No. 8 and his back-like ball skills create lots of opportunities. With Legin out, Sevu moves to second-five and is just as impressive there. He has a knack of breaking tackles at will and his elusive running is mean to watch. From 21-0 at halftime, we kick out to 46-0 and a place in the final.
After the game and warm-down, we catch up with our adopted parents and many of the families who we stayed with in Kyoto. It’s awesome that they have travelled so far to support us. We also meet up with some of the Jyoto HS billets who came to New Zealand, Keiga and Kenta who had short stays at HBHS, and lots of other new Japanese friends.
We shower, ice and wait in line to see Doc and Kaz about our injuries. Our meeting room has moved on from looking like “Shortland Street”, to something more like the aftermath of a bombing.
Back at the grounds, South Africa takes France apart. It’s a brutal affair and we can’t help a small smile as the injury toll mounts. In the end, the size and strength of the Paarl team is too much and we all start thinking of ways we can combat their obvious strengths.
Dinner and then a team meeting. Each night outside our dorm, hordes of Japanese players gather with the hope of swapping some gear for anything with HBHS or New Zealand on it. Some boys are masters at negotiating a deal, with a Boys’ High PE shirt managing to pull in a rugby jersey, two tee-shirts and a pair of shorts.
Our singing tonight is right up there and we blast out our favourites for 20 minutes or so. Mrs Clark reads the latest emails which we all enjoy and we crack up at Creano’s touching message to Legin. Sevu rightfully picks up another MVP award and Ayden gains the ‘Play of the Day’ with his stuttering pre-game speech.
Then down to business. We pick Paarl apart with strengths, weaknesses and opportunities. Then onto our game and we know we need to minimize their lineout drive chances and let our backs loose on them. We finish the meeting with our school song ‘Hallelujah’ which reminds us all of school and home.
Tomorrow’s the day we’ve all been looking forward to. Our team may be ‘battered and bruised’ but there is a very strong resolve that we will give everything we have in the final.
Bring on the final!!!
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