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College rugby tournament celebrates lesser lights

Sep 12th, 2016 | By | Category: Latest News, Sport

JLS Splash

A rugby tournament at Wellington College last Saturday gave some of the school’s lower profile teams a chance to shine.

The James Lawler Shield is a chance for rugby players from Palmerston North Boys High School and Wellington College to experience the kind of inter-school tournament usually reserved for their schools’ top teams.

Wellington College old boy and tournament founder James Lawler says he wanted to celebrate the players who don’t get to play in the big ‘traditional’ fixtures.

“I just decided to have a tournament that recognises the B-sides…They’re the teams that don’t go to tournaments and have annual fixtures as well, so this is really designed for them, because at the end of the season if they get kicked out early they’ve got really nothing to play for at the end of it.”

When he organised the first game in 2012 Lawler didn’t expect to see a trophy with his name on it, something he says he still isn’t used to.

JLS In Place

Tournament founder and Wellington College old boy James Lawler with the shield named in his honour.

“It’s a little bit strange having something that’s named after you but I guess it’s the good strange.”

This year the tournament included games between Under 14 and Under 15 sides, the Wellington College Under 80kg B’s against the Palmerston North Boys Fourth XV, and the marquee matchup between the two schools’ Third XVs.

Captain of Wellington College’s Under 14 team Alex Blacktop says he enjoyed the experience of playing a team from outside the Wellington region.

“It was very different. It was a different rugby than us, they just played right until the end and they never gave up, and it was really good to play against them.”

Palmerston North Boys sports coordinator and Fourth XV coach Lindsay Calton says it also means a lot to his students.

“It’s good for those kids that don’t normally get inter-schools and they really look forward to it.”

Wellington College won the tournament by three games to one, but Lawler says the commitment and fair play on show was the most important thing for him.

“I thought they all played very well, the Palmy sides gave it their all and never gave up to the full 70 minutes. That’s what the tournament’s about, it’s about giving it their all and having fun and not worrying about the result per se, but it’s nice having the shield back,” he says.

Full Results:

Wellington College U55/U65kg Combined 43 – 24 PNBHS U14C

Wellington College U15B 58 – 12 PNBHS U15B

Wellington College U80kgB 17 – 33 PNBHS 4th XV

Wellington College 3rd XV 26 – 21 PNBHS 3rd XV

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is a Radio Journalist at Newswire.co.nz, Whitireia Journalism School.
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