Otago Boys High School came away with a comprehensive 55-0 win over Christs College in their traditional match today at Littlebourne, Dunedin.
The fixture is the oldest traditional fixture in the southern hemisphere, with this year marking the 125th year this game was played.
The win came just days after the tragic death of a much loved team-mate, an event which moved an entire community.
It was a very emotional day, and there was a sadness like no other surrounding the ground as the teams walked onto the field and stood for a minute's silence, in which a pin drop could be heard.
In his honour, no one wore the No. 13 jersey, instead it hung on the school banner on the sideline giving the feeling that he was there with the team as they went into battle.
And it certainly seemed as though there were 16 players on the field, as Otago Boys delivered an inspired performance that did the memory of their team mate justice in each and every way.
It took just minutes for Otago Boys to cross the line, as winger Jared Hewitt touched down after being put into the clear to go untouched to the line.
The next 20 minutes saw both sides unable to finish chances leaving the game evenly poised.
But it always looked like it would be Otago Boys who would break through. And so they did after a long build up, they finally crashed over after a series of pick and go's.
Another try took the score to 21-0 at halftime, by which time Otago Boys had gained a firm dominance up front.
The second half saw the floodgates open and another six tries, taking the final score to 55-0.
It truly was an inspired performance. The forwards played with passion, hitting rucks hard and gaining dominance at scrum time, while the backs looked dangerous with ball in hand, giving the Christs problems all over the park.
Defensively they were superb, constantly applying pressure and ensuring Christs got very little good ball to work with. The effort could be summed up by a passage of play in the second half, where under pressure in their own half, Otago Boys defended for five minutes, never letting their opposition through.
Picking out individuals in a performance like this isn't easy, but loose-forwards Brodie Hume and Harry Schaumann were both highly influential, while lock Josh Dickson also had a very strong game. In the backs, the midfield pairing of Aleki Morris and Michael Collins were dangerous, creating countless opportunities, many of which translated into points.
But it was truly a team performance, where everybody put their body on the line and stepped up when it mattered.
This saw Christs never really get into the game at all, in what was arguably the most dominant performance from an Otago Boys 1st XV against a recognised rugby school in recent history.
They will play again next Wednesday, in another Traditional Fixture against Timaru Boys High School, a game they will take all the confidence in the world into. Never have I seen a team so inspired and it will be sure to continue throughout the rest of the season, making them formidable opponents to all who cross their path.
And lastly, to a team-mate, opponent and friend to many. Rest In Peace. You will be dearly missed by many both on and off the field. A true inspiration to everyone. Gone but never forgotten.
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