English High School visits Garin College
Story by: Shuttersport - Photo by: Chris Symes
Touring English rugby team The Bishop's Stortford High School were in Nelson attempting to glean knowledge and replicate the Kiwi brand of running rugby - and by all accounts they are doing a pretty good job of it.
A win over a Waimea College invitational team started proceedings well for the tourists, but a trip to play the Garin College First XV proved a tougher task as Garin recorded their fourth consecutive win in a close 12-7 result.
A squad of 42 boys and six staff from Hertfordshire, England, have been touring New Zealand for the past few weeks. Coach Ian Simpson said the trip to New Zealand was a chance to develop a point of difference to other teams in England.
"We are trying to go against the English grain to be honest. We are trying to play an open expansive game of rugby and throw the ball around and the boys enjoy it.
"The big thing was all about player development, developing a new brand and style of rugby for our school, developing rugby knowledge and individual talent.
"The tour has been fantastic and we have had a chance to blood a lot of players prior to our home season."
Simpson said the games in Nelson had been one of the real highlights on tour.
"We loved our experience in Nelson. It's a great place, a lovely town. The boys were hosted really well by two separate schools, we had a great time and the rugby was competitive."‘
The tourists certainly employed their expansive style to good effect against a Waimea College invitational team, outscoring the side made up of under-16, under-18 and First XV members. The match was played in the exhibition style and although no scores were recorded, TBSHS earned a comfortable victory.
The Garin First XV game was a different story. TBSHS fielded their second XV development side, who met a resolute Garin team out for victory. Garin started the first half strongly and after applying plenty of pressure through an attacking mindset Paul O'Regan scored the first try.
The home team continued to dominate proceedings and it was not long before the scoreboard started to reflect that, with left wing Nathan Munro showing good pace to beat multiple defenders and score in the corner.
Brodie Sidwell converted to put Garin ahead 12-0 at halftime.
After a steady diet of rugby the visitors were determined to get into the game but each attack was well contained by Garin's defence, although the visitors were rewarded for their efforts with a try two minutes before the final whistle.
Garin College coach Patrick Smith said TBSHS played an entertaining style of rugby, running the ball at all times, but he was pleased with his team's ability to contain them in defence.
"Callum Turner combined well with Paul O'Regan to regularly get Garin on the front foot. Connor Carr and Peter Tavich worked hard in the middle of the forward pack and Will Gifford was named man of the match for his ability to break the line and his general all-round play."
Garin College sports director Michael Aronsten said each year the college liked to bring a marquee touring school into the fold.
"This is something we try to do every year as a highlight for our school rugby programme and we've enjoyed some very successful encounters over the years."