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Sunday, 26 November 2017 12:31 am

St Pat’s First XV champion after 20 long years

across the top 2

St Pat’s team members perform the haka after the victory. IMAGE: Arana Kenny

JERRY COLLINS was a member of the last St Pat’s Town team to win the Wellington first XV rugby competition, and he was an inspiration for it’s victory yesterday.

St Pat’s beat defending champs Scots College 19-8 at Porirua Park.

Current head coach Glenn Donaldson says he and John Bishop also coached the 1995 team, “so this is a big thing for us”.

“We had a bit of a prayer for him inside before the game and the boys did it themselves and they had their own feelings and just came out and gave it heaps,” he says.

Scots College drew first blood in the opening minutes off a 40m penalty goal by Winger MaloManuao.

That the lead was short-lived, and it would be their only points in the half.

St Pat’s fired back immediately off a strong surge into enemy territory, scoring an unconverted try by captain Jack Nelson-Murray.

Scots handling errors would prove costly in the Weltec Premiership Final.

In the 13th minute of play, Scots first five-eight, Josh Wilson threw a wild pass which was swooped on by St Pat’s centre Billy Proctor who crossed over for another try.

Proctor played a huge part in his side’s victory, scoring another try just before half time.

He contributed 14 of his sides total 19 points, converting both of his own try’s.

Proctor had the right attitude heading into the game.

“I just had to do my job and do whatever I could to help the boys out,” he said after the match.

Scots had many opportunities throughout the second half to make a late push, but simple handling errors such as knock-on’s held them back.

It wasn’t until the 60th minute that Scots College finally scored its first try of the game through captain Peter Umaga-Jensen.

Umaga-Jensen could not convert and that would be the final scoring act of the game.

A charge-down by Scots College in the opposition goal line in the dying minutes looked to be a certain try, but it was disallowed because the player was deemed offside.

Scots usual standout players Alex Fidow and the Umaga-Jensen brothers did not disappoint, breaking tackles left, right, and centre.

However, the scrambling defense of St Pat’s seemed to contain those players just enough to get the job done.

The Scots captain says his team’s game plan was to be more direct and to get the ball wide but he admits they did not stick to their structure.

“I think looking at the scoreboard when it was 19-3, our players just kind of relied on individuals.

“We needed to stick more to our structure but we’re unlucky we didn’t,” Umaga-Jensen says.

St Pat’s were the clear underdogs heading into the match, previously losing 32-37to the undefeated Scots Collegein round 1 of the season.

Line speed was the main focus for St Pat’s, and head coach Donaldson could be heard screaming it from the sidelines.

Donaldson knew Scots College had star power in the their line-up and saw the Wallabies victory over the All Blacks on Saturday night as inspiration.

“The Aussies did exactly the same.”

“Aussie were the underdogs and we said ‘well look what can happen, even the All Blacks can go down’,” Donaldson says.

Scots College manager Matt White says they couldn’t get going after the poor start and credits the St Pat’s forward pack.

“St Pat’s town put pressure on our lineout and scrum and we just couldn’t get going.

right side

St Pat’s Town captain Jack Nelson-Murray holds up the trophy presented by Weltec and Whitireia polytechnics chief executive Chris Gosling (black coat).

“We gave up two soft tries with the intercepts and then had to fight back after that, making it hard work for ourselves,” White says.

St Pat’s skipper, Nelson-Murray led his forward pack in an inspirational performance which proved to be the real difference in this game.

“Our forwards set the platform for our team and everyone plays off that.

“Our coach is quite old school as well, so you know, forwards dominate then the backs do the pretty work out wide,” skipper, Nelson-Murray says.

The two sides could potentially meet again in the coming weeks.

“We look forward to it actually, and that’s what they said when we were shaking their hands as well,” Donaldson says.

“They said ‘we’ll see you in the final’ and I was like ‘yup, bring it on’.”

Both sides will compete in the Hurricanes regional play-offs starting next weekend, in the hope that they can move on to the national top four tournament and become national champions.

Scots College is the defending national champion so St Pat’s can only gain confidence knowing they have toppled them for now.

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