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Super 8 starts with Palmerston

Get in early for Gisborne versus Palmerston.

The Gisborne Boys’ High School first 15 (12.30pm on Rectory ground No.1), second 15 (11am on R1) and under 15s (11am on R2) begin their Super 8 campaign against Palmerston North BHS tomorrow.

Scots College beat GBHS 50-0 last Saturday with PNBHS beating Wellington College 33-12. A fortnight ago here, PNBHS outclassed St Patrick’s College, Town 31-14 as St Patrick’s College, Silverstream edged the locals out 22-21.

Tomorrow’s protagonists are both good teams and from a Gisborne perspective, the return from injury of Ofa Tauatevalu to the second-row, Braedyn Grant’s start at halfback and Matt Proffit’s move from right wing to fullback may be inspired moves by head coach Mark Jefferson.

Proffit could be dangerous from the back. Tauatevalu, his locking partner Kauri Waitoa, acting captain blindside flanker Khian Westrupp, big openside Amos Roddick and powerful No.8 Nikau Maxwell give this GBHS unit competitive size.

“Ofa gives us a great lineout option and has experience at this level, while Niko Lauti brings great defensive reads at centre,” said Jefferson, whose team has been without Tauatevalu and regular captain loosehead prop Jordan McFarlane since the away game v Kelston BHS on April 12.

Strong lock Tiaan Barbara-Hei and hooker Amanaki Tonga also remain out, both much-missed for their muscle in tight.

Gisborne Boys’ were placed sixth, Palmerston North fifth in the 2018 S8 won by Hamilton BHS. GBHS was a minute from victory v PNBHS away last season when the home team captain first-five Stewart Cruden kicked a 40m penalty for 23-21. Two years ago, Palmerston won 21-3 at the Rectory; Gisborne’s last win against PNBHS was a 23-7 result here in 2015.

Palmerston first 15 coach Blair van Stipriaan’s team features three players who were regular starters in 2018; fullback Ruben Love represented New Zealand Maori last season.

Van Stipriaan said this of PNBHS’ win v Wellngton College: “We were OK in patches. The focus for the week has been on trying to combat the aggression we know is coming at the breakdown.”

The GBHS second 15 and u15s may also have a point to prove against tomorrow’s guests: Palmerston won 28-17 and their u15s won that game 33-12 last year as GBHS was swept away from home.

A measure of the leap good young players have to make here is that loosehead prop Kitini Taihuka, who was unavailable for the game v Scots, scored two tries v PNBHS for the u15s at this time last year.

The PNBHS second 15 is coming off a 19-0 victory over the Cullinane College first 15 and the PNBHS u15s drew 19- all with Feilding HS. The GBHS second 15 lost 7-55 to Napier BHS at School Park a fortnight ago while the GBHS u15s should be full of running, having won the u15 grade of the Poverty Bay section of the Condors 7s on Wednesday.

The referees for Saturday’s interschool fixtures are Oliver Holst (1st 15, AR1 David Stevenson, AR2 Adam Tapsell, Rectory ground No.1, 12.30pm), David Stevenson (2nd 15, R1, 11am) and Adam Tapsell (u15s, R2, 11am).

GBHS 1st 15: Kitini Taihuka, Setafano Tolu, Sione Mafelio, Ofa Tauatevalu, Kauri Waitoa, Khian Westrupp (captain), Amos Roddick, Nikau Maxwell, Braedyn Grant, Anaru Paenga-Morgan, TK Reihana, Tuteari Te Rauna-Lamont, Niko Lauti, Campbell Hall, Matthew Proffit. Reserves: Nathaniel Hauiti, Tyla Keelan-Phillips, Nik Patumaka, Lochi Mead, Nic Proffit, Ricardo Patricio, Whetu King-Taufa.

GBHS 2nd 15: Reweti Ropiha, Matariki Kaa, Moeaki Mosati, Corban Richter, Tyla Keelan-Phillips, Adam Whibley (c), Jackson McDonald, Nik Patumaka, Kirk Ngatai, Bryan Howard, Caleb Billington, Lyric Baty-Akurangi, Adrian Wharehinga-McDonald, Tyrese Nepe, Kahu Whaitiri-Te Miha. Reserves: Isaiah Kiwara, Kahu Cooper/Drake Wanoa, Sam Twigley, Sitiveni Tuilautala, Silas Brown, Von Huata, Saylahr Paaka.

GBHS u15s: Lathaneal Karakia-Niwa, Wiremu Maxwell, Zeke Collier, Reuben Whaitiri, Dylan Bronlund, Geordie Sawyer, Ben Phelps, Uetaha Wanoa, Israel Fox, Carlos Hihi (c), Izaiah Fox, Xavier Henare, Taimana Teneti, Hikurangi Reid, John Horua. Reserves: Tama Taituha, King Maxwell, Cleveland Kennedy, Matiu Anderson, Kaia Gate.

PNBHS 1st 15: Nasser Tato, Harlow Apiata, Raymond Tuputupu, Tom Hansen, Jack Wenham, Tamati Ruawai (c), Soane Fakahau, Elyjah Crosswell, Matty Oldridge, Curtis Heaphy, Tavita Henare-Schuster, Josh Ellingham, Chance Malu, Jayden Keelan, Ruben Love. Reserves: Bryn Gordon, Feleti Sae Ta’ofu’ou, Ben Ruawai, Ethan Johansen, Jordi Viljoen, Jack Trotter, Kalani Grant.

PNBHS 2nd 15: Tom Beard, Charlie Justice, Pulotu Poumohuni, Bailey Tyler, VJ Tauli, Kodie Albert-Papanui, Ethan Johansen, Jared Sellwood (c), Tom Kirk, Carson Hepi, James Cameron, Kalis Mason, Leo Gordon, Reif Dawson, Kalani Grant. Reserves: Zane Munn, Imre Duncan, Livai Stevenson, Nasi Manu, Jordi Viljoen, Kopere Tanoa, Sheriff Isopo.

PNBHS u15s: Javahn Stevenson, Manu Latu, Telson Liuvaie, Finn Coan, Sione Latu, Max Deighton, Jake Donovan, Zayne Poole (c), Fletcher Carpenter, Maraki Aumua, Kees Jahnke, Tayne Harvey, Jack Gordon, Reihana Wetere, Sam Coles. Reserves: Wiremu Ruawai, Sam Lalogafau, Byrin Nikolajenko, Alex Boblea, Toby Gullery.

ANOTHER OPTION: The return from injury of Ofa Tauatevalu, here striding out against Lindisfarne College last month, gives Gisborne Boys’ High School another option at lineouts. Picture by Paul Rickard