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Big second-half performance from Boys’ High

RUGBY.

As Game of Thrones character Ser Davos Seaworth told his king, “Loyal service means telling hard truths”.

Which is what — in his understated way — Gisborne Boys' High School first 15 rugby head coach Ryan Tapsell did with his young line-up at Taupo yesterday.

Despite the 28-10 loss to Feilding High School in Hawke's Bay last Friday and yesterday's 42-7 loss to Hamilton's St Paul's Collegiate School at Owen Delany Park, a host of first-year players are getting valuable game-time in this short pre-season. Tapsell is happy for his young charges to “fly under the radar” for the time being.

“We had a few experienced players out, so these guys got an opportunity,” he said.

“It was 37-0 at the break but then we brought on older heads and it was a much more competitive game in the second half. I'm hoping we'll have everyone back for the first and second 15 games against St Peter's School at the Rectory on July 18.”

Against St Paul's, in the absence of Gisborne Boys' High School's regular captain, openside flanker Amos Roddick, second five-eighth (and head prefect) Tuteari Te Rauna-Lamont led the team for the first time.

St Paul's player of the day was centre Matthew Johnson, while Gisborne's player of the day was loosehead prop Sione Fekauhavea.

Former Poverty Bay front-rower Sam Cairns, assistant manager of the Boys' High team, felt Fekauhavea “more than held his own” against Chiefs under-18 anchor Havila Molia.

That Boys' High conceded only one try in the second half, after conceding 37 points before the break, was a complete form reversal.

In the 59th minute, GBHS struck.

From a scrum set five metres on their own side of halfway, 15m off the right touch, GBHS went one ruck to the left before reserve first-five Nic Proffit made a huge break down the ground to the 22.

There followed a ruck, grubber-kick, and enough urgency and concerted pressure to put reserve tighthead prop Nathaniel Hauiti over from four metres out from the St Paul's goal-line.

Hauiti scored and fullback King Maxwell kicked the conversion.

St Paul's head coach Paul Hodder, whose side are away to Hamilton BHS in a tough derby match next Wednesday, said: “Gisborne defended well around the ruck at times and in the second half, they got over the ball more often. They deserved their try.

“I saw promise there — they'll be OK.”