Stunning try sets up a New Plymouth win

Thursday, May 06 2021

Stunning try sets up a New Plymouth win

Will Johnston

New Plymouth Boys’ High School wing Zak McDonald’s try sealed the deal against Whanganui Collegiate on Wednesday afternoon.

In the 100th traditional between the two teams, New Plymouth were trailing 14-13 with 20 minutes to play in the 20-14 win at the Gully.

Step up McDonald.

Inside his own 22m area, the rangy winger broke out of his own quarter and found space down the right-hand flank. A kick over the top of the defence found a hole and despite a chance from Whanganui wing Josh Brunger to capture the ball, it went McDonald’s way.

The bounce sat up beautifully into McDonald’s possession and was able to scamper untouched to score under the posts.

Topia Barrowcliffe’s conversion was missed, but New Plymouth managed to hold on to win its 80th win against its rivals.

The try was probably the most entertaining phase of the game after both teams failed to string phases together in the first half.

Time again, the teams were penalised heavily at the breakdown after they became isolated, an area where referees have been told to be quick at rewarding the defending team.

Both defensive efforts were strong and denied each team opportunities to score.

A failing for the visitors, captain Shaun O’Leary chose to scrum options rather than taking shots at goals after penalties. To his credit, Whanganui’s scrum did have the upper-hand.

New Plymouth opened its account early with a penalty kick off the boot of first-five eight Callum Tito, after missed an earlier attempt.

Whanganui got itself on the scoresheet with a pick and drive with Konrad Newland sliding under the defence. Captain and midfielder Shaun O’Leary slotted the extras to give the visiting team the lead.

New Plymouth repaid the favour with a Che Potaka try, who caught Whanganui off guard and scored.

The home team lead 8-7 at the break.

Whanganui’s Waqa Waqaicece charged down a Tito kick inside his own goal line and scored to take the lead. O’Leary’s conversion was Whanganui’s final point scoring opportunity in the match.

A Lachlan Guthrie try in the corner along with McDonald’s efforts were enough to see the home team win.

New Plymouth Boys’ High School 20 (C. Potaka, L. Guthrie, Z McDonald tries; C. Tito pen, T. Barrowcliffe con).
Whanganui Collegiate 14 (K. Newland, W. Waqaicece tries; S. O’Leary 2 con).
HT: 8-7.