NZ HERALD WEEKLY COLLEGE SPORT COLUMN
Published: Thu, 17 May 2012
Soccer to set age limit in top-level grades.
Photo: The Junior boys in action during the Auckland Secondary Schools Zonal Cross Country Championships. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Soccer is to follow rugby later this year, bringing in an age restriction for premier and senior grades, but it might not find universal acceptance.
Concerned at the number of Year 14 pupils, many 19 years of age, playing in its top competition, the Auckland SSFA will seek backing at this year's annual meeting to put an under-18 age limit (as at January 1) in place.
The association secretary, Ian McLaughlan, was confident of support for the remit. "Rugby changed their eligibility rule last year to stop boys coming back for Year 14 just to play their sport. We want to make our premier and senior grades an elite competition and feel that by having an age restriction we can achieve that."
But some may feel that soccer is different from rugby in terms of physical contact and be happy to maintain the status quo.
There is a feeling the move could make all premier sport the domain of under-18-year-olds which, in turn, could be seen as discriminatory.
Cheerleading and aerobics are not viewed as mainstream sports in New Zealand schools but there's a competitive edge in both and two young North Shore girls are making their mark.
Carmel College 15-year-old Tessa Mullins switched from a successful artistic gymnastics career - good enough to represent North Harbour at the highest level and be in the New Zealand development squad - to aerobics after knee problems.
"Aerobics appealed to me as I'm able to combine my love of gymnastics, dance, fitness, materials and design, which I'm studying at school, and choreography," said Mullins.
A Year 11 student, Mullins is coached by Meredith Donnelly, a New Zealand representative, who was rewarded for his efforts when she won last year's National Junior Secondary Schools title in Invercargill.
Earlier Mullins had finished a highly credible eighth at the World Sports Aerobics Fitness Championship in Australia in her first outing at that level. Her sights are now set on a place in the New Zealand team to compete in the Netherlands this year. She has also represented her school at netball, touch and athletics.
Kelly Isles flies the cheerleading flag at the country's biggest school. In Year 12 at Rangitoto College, Isles was a member of the all-girl team which won silver at the International Cheerleading Union's championships in Florida.
Considered the Olympics of the sport, the event has 50 competing nations with both all-girl and co-ed teams. The Kiwi team put in more than eight hours a week before honing their skills in a four-day camp. The all-girl team finished second behind Canada in the elite division, a huge step forward for cheerleading in New Zealand.
The co-ed team also finished second, again behind Canada, in their division. That team has been a regular competitor at the highest level since 2009, with five of the 24 members from Rangitoto College.
AGS claimed first blood as the Avantiplus time trials hit the road early on Sunday morning.
Forced to a new course in Mangere because of roadworks on the waterfront, the large number of cyclists were happy with a more challenging run with rises and sharp corners adding to the technical difficulties.
Competitors felt it was more like the course the riders will face at the North Island and national championships later in the year.
In the senior boys, AGS beat WBHS by just under eight seconds but WBHS turned the tables in the junior race, triumphing by a little over 10 seconds. St Kentigern B just pipped TGS in the junior girls while St Cuthberts were clear winners over St Kentigern in the senior girls.
The game of the season quickly became a reality check for newly crowned world champions Kelston BHS on their trip to St Kentigern.
KBHS, the national champions, Moascar Cup holders and Condors 7s champions, pitted against the defending 1A champions and national co-ed top four winners, was a welcome-home present the visitors could have done without. Doing it on live television only rubbed salt in the wounds.
From the opening minute, the visitors were up against it when captain and first five Matt Vaega kicked off long. St Kentigern called for a scrum on halfway, executing a brilliant move in which halfback Sam Nock ran through a huge gap, stepped the Kelston fullback and scored under the posts. The conversion had the hosts 7-0 ahead inside a minute.
Within 15 minutes the lead was stretched to 10-0 when fullback Broc Hooper kicked a penalty. Before the break Hooper went across for a try and a 15-0 halftime lead.
The visitors began the second half with more urgency, even though they were a player short after a sin-binning late in the first half.
But critical errors continued to stymie their efforts and against the run of play St Kentigern increased their lead when left wing Suliasi Vunivalu scored from a pick-and-go. The conversion took the hosts out to 22-0.
Kelston clawed something back with a try from a sweeping move which ended in fullback Tony Tumusa's hands. The home side refused to give up and replacement front rower Jonathan Faauli dotted down to extend the lead to 29-5 with five minutes left. The visitors continued to press and after continued assaults on the opposition line, were rewarded when their own replacement front rower, Felix Alefaio, scored.
Vaega converted to close the gap but the hosts weren't done and had the final say with another converted try to their young halfback for a final 36-12 scoreline.
The game was a huge ask for Kelston, who had played six games in eight days, flown home, and five days later faced the defending champions in what is regarded as the toughest first XV competition in the world.
Sacred Heart came through their first real test of the season with flying colours claiming a 22-5 win over MAGS. Opting to play into the wind in the first half, Sacred Heart applied the early pressure, forcing MAGS into some uncharacteristic errors. The pressure told with tries to No 8 Simona Lokeni and blindside flanker Liam Polwart, Turoa Kamana converting both, giving Sacred Heart a 14-0 halftime lead.
In the second half it was a matter of maintaining the forward dominance and laying the platform for the backs to claim possession. The home team were rewarded early with an unconverted try in the corner to Kamana, followed later by a penalty and a 22-0 advantage.
Searching for a bonus try, their composure went slightly adrift which allowed the visitors the ball to attack and had the Sacred Heart defence scrambling. It held out until the last play when MAGS scored in the corner.
An ugly incident late in the game marred what was otherwise a free-flowing affair between Kings and Tamaki College, which was eventually won by Kings 39-22.
Both defences had lapses and a total of 10 tries were run in. Kings scored six and Tamaki four for both teams to claim a bonus point.
Tamaki opened the scoring with a converted try but Kings replied with tries to second-five Kahu Ingram, openside flanker Mitchell Karpik and captain Sinclair Dominikovich-Murray. Fullback Bram Egli converted one and kicked a penalty. Tamaki added a further try in the half which ended with Kings ahead 20-12.
Kings began the second half strongly and first-five Josh Ioane scored. Egli converted and then scored a try to stretch Kings' lead to 32-12. Tamaki then scored again before Ingram scored his second and Egli added the extras. Not to be outdone, Tamaki added a bonus-point fourth try.
The match finished on a sour note, when after a scrum close to the Tamaki line, Kings prop Hugo Ford was felled by a vicious punch from behind. Ford was knocked unconscious, hospitalised and received a wound inside his mouth.
The incident was not seen by match officials but was referred to the citing commissioner and will be considered by the judicial committee next week.
Takapuna Grammar desperately wanted to beat Rosmini in the game of the round after their disappointing loss to WBHS. It was always going to be a tough task with Rosmini coming off an 85-0 win over Glenfield.
TGS started well, but Rosmini were first on the board with an unconverted try to halfback Daniel Hilton. They struck again, hooker Fergus Hattaway scoring after a strong maul. Fullback Ben Hyatt-Brown kicked the conversion for a handy 12-0 lead.
More mistakes crept in from Takapuna and Rosmini took advantage to score two more tries - the first, by prop Conor O'Leary, from an overcooked kickoff, the second when Hyatt-Brown broke through the Rosmini defence. He converted one but not his own, doubling their lead to 24-0.
Takapuna bounced back, wing Salu Mainu'u's try giving his team a much needed boost. Rosmini capped the first half with a converted Ryan Kennedy try to increase their lead to 31-5.
Early in the second half, TGS made the most of a Rosmini scrum penalty and captain and No 8 Cameron McLachlan scored with Kahu von Sturmer-Karanui adding the extras. Takapuna gained some momentum but still trailed 31-12.
Rosmini then rammed home their dominance, scoring another two converted tries - to lock Taylor Smits and reserve halfback Sam Pierce. That put the game well out of Takapuna's reach and sealed a 45-12 bonus-point win for Rosmini. Rosmini coach Brett Craies was pleased with how his team played, particularly when Takapuna applied the pressure in the second half.
In other 1A games, Northcote edged Mahurangi 7-5 in a very close encounter, WBHS thumped Rangitoto 81-13 and Massey overwhelmed Glenfield 123-0. This week's match of the day will be the televised fixture between WBHS and Rosmini - two schools celebrating 50-year jubilees. Bruce Kidd
MAGS set themselves up for this week's much-awaited clash of the season with Lotto Premier national champions Sacred Heart, with a 5-0 away win over Rangitoto. Not to be outdone, Sacred Heart warmed up for their trip to MAGS with a 5-0 win of their own over St Kentigern.
A devastating seven-minute spell in the second half laid the platform for a well-merited MAGS victory.
Rangitoto squandered an early chance and while the visitors dominated for long periods, it was not until the 41st minute the deadlock was broken. Cory Adams cut in from the left, found some space and struck a thunderbolt from 18m to give MAGS their 1-0 halftime lead.
Right from the second-half start, the visitors laid siege to the Rangitoto goal. There were some near misses and Connor Stoton had a goal disallowed being ruled offside. The game-breaker came in the 64th minute. Harley Tahau played a through ball to Nayuta Nagai, he dummied and let the ball run through to Stoton, whose left-foot shot beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one.
Five minutes later, Monty Patterson added the third with a powerful drive and the fourth goal followed soon after, when Cory Adams hit the post and Nayuta Nagai followed up well for 4-0 in the 71st minute.
Coach Kevin Fallon then rang the changes with substitute Joseph Dan Tyrell, on for Stoton, making it a game to remember when he scored.
"Keeping a clean sheet is just as good as scoring goals," said Fallon later. " Our back four today snuffed out most of the Rangitoto attacks."
Rangitoto coach Andy Moore was philosophical in defeat. "MAGS is a good outfit, we tried to stay in the game, but when we changed tactics 2-0 down, the gates opened. They attack with pace and can punish you quickly and they did."
Sacred Heart, at home for the first time this season, made the most of a clever Ben Thomas ball and a defensive mix-up to open the scoring when Stephen Carmichael slotted his first of the day. By halftime that lead had stretched to 3-0. Ben Thomas ghosted left on to a Carmichael through ball to flash the ball past the St Kentigern goalkeeper. Right on the stroke of halftime, from a tight angle, Carmichael scored from an Ant Cibilich freekick.
Cibilich then claimed one of his own from the penalty spot after a hand ball.
Firmly in control and with an eye to the trip to MAGS, coach Danny Hay took the opportunity to rest a couple of players but it was the ever-alert Carmichael who had the final say, when he hustled and bustled through the defence before a simple finish rounded off his hat-trick.
With two wins and two clean sheets, Hay and his players will head west, confident of scoring their first win over MAGS in the premier league.
Rugby - Counties Manukau 1st XV (Premiers)
Closes: Fri, 29 Mar 13
Starts: Sat, 15 Jun 13
Football CM Boys - Counties Manukau
Closes: Wed, 15 May 13
Starts: Wed, 29 May 13
Cross Country - Zones Central/Eastern
Closes: Thu, 16 May 13
Starts: Thu, 23 May 13
Golf - Strokeplay Championships
Closes: Tue, 21 May 13
Starts: Mon, 27 May 13
Cross Country - Zones Counties/Manukau
Closes: Wed, 22 May 13
Starts: Tue, 28 May 13
Mountain Bike - Race 2 Riverhead Forest
Closes: Wed, 22 May 13
Starts: Sun, 26 May 13
Gymsports - Artistic / Tumbling
Closes: Wed, 22 May 13
Starts: Tue, 11 Jun 13
Gymsports - Aerobic
Closes: Thu, 23 May 13
Starts: Sat, 22 Jun 13
Cross Country - Regional Championships
Closes: Wed, 29 May 13
Starts: Thu, 6 Jun 13
Gymsports - Trampolining
Closes: Thu, 13 Jun 13
Starts: Wed, 26 Jun 13
Gymsports - Rhythmic
Closes: Thu, 13 Jun 13
Starts: Sat, 29 Jun 13
Lacrosse - AKSS Boys
Closes: Thu, 13 Jun 13
Starts: Fri, 9 Aug 13
Snowsports - Auckland School Champs
Closes: Fri, 21 Jun 13
Starts: Thu, 27 Jun 13
Mountain Bike - Race 3 Woodhill Forest
Closes: Wed, 26 Jun 13
Starts: Sun, 30 Jun 13
Lacrosse - Girls Auckland Champs
Closes: Wed, 10 Jul 13
Starts: Fri, 9 Aug 13