A Team of Over Achievers: The 2004 Wesley College 1st XV.

Wesley College Magazine: “The 1st XV began the year with a new coaching team, six returning players and a huge reputation to maintain from previous years. 2004 was to be a development year to build a team for the future. The end result saw a team that grew tremendously and achieved well beyond early expectations.”

In 2004 Wesley had a large and youthful team that wasn’t expected to be a contender for National honours. However new coach Chris Bean had other ideas as Wesley went on a rampage towards the Top Four.

 

The Numbers

Played: 25

Won: 23

Lost: 1

Drawn: 1

Points For: 1317

Points Against: 159

Average Score: 53-6

 

Season Review

The season began in February when forty players gathered in warm summer conditions to begin training over an intense four week period. After the trails twenty-two players were selected with Sekope Kepu added after he returned from a serious knee injury. From this selection a two Captain system was adopted with Sione Lea (Taranaki) and Tipuna Ropotini in charge.

The pre-season began against defending Auckland Champions De La Salle College. The returning players wanted to redeem the two losses suffered to De La Salle in 2003. After a torrid battle, the tenacious character of the team was shown with a narrow 19-17 victory. The next match against Massey High School was played as a curtain raiser to the opening match in the North Harbour Senior Championship. Wesley ran away with an impressive 63- 13 win. The last match was against Tangaroa College which Wesley won 17-0.

The promise of the pre-season was translated into outstanding form in the Counties-Manukau Championship. Wesley went through the first round unbeaten posting two results over one hundred points. They were just as impressive in the second round and in the semi final beating Manurewa High School 108-0! The Counties final was against Wesley’s most difficult local opponent Rosehill College. A crushing 41-3 victory showed Wesley to be vastly superior to any school in Counties and earned them the right to represent the province in the National Top 16 Championship.(Below Sekope Kepu)

The National Top 16 was supposed to start against North Harbour representatives Westlake Boys High School. Unfortunately the North Harbour champions defaulted leaving more time to prepare for the quarter final against Auckland’s, Mount Albert Grammar School. Bad luck for MAGS! Wesley won convincingly 47-7. This set up a semi-final against Hamilton Boys High School. Once again Wesley overwhelmed a much larger school, scoring a 34-10 victory. This saw Wesley into their sixth National final to be held at Wesley for the first time. The opponents unbeaten Press Cup champions and Moascar Cup holders Christchurch Boys High School. At the same time of  the National finals the New Zealand Secondary Schools team was touring Fiji, leaving Christchurch without three of its players Tim Bateman, Jonathon Direen and Baydon Phillips and Wesley without its inspirational leader Sione Lea. A large crowd still attended to watch both sides fight out a thrilling 22 all draw. The result a shared National title but the Moascar Cup remaining with Christchurch.

 

2004: Scoreboard

  • De La Salle College, 19-17
  • Massey High School, 63-13
  • Tangaroa College, 17-0
  • Rosehill College, 24-3
  • Papakura High School, 145-0
  • Wesley College 2nd XV, 50-0
  • Waiuku College, 63-0
  • James Cook High School, 36-5
  • Pukekohe High School, 83-3
  • Manurewa High School, 105-3
  • Rosehill College, 31-5
  • Wesley College. 2nd XV, 50-8
  • Waiuku College, 59-0
  • Manurewa High School, 74-0
  • Manurewa High School, 108-0
  • Rosehill College, 41-3
  • Fielding Agricultural High School, 14-33  (First Fixture)
  • Western Heights High School, 79-0
  • Church College of New Zealand, 53-12
  • Wesley College Old Boys, 36-10
  • Suva Grammar U17’s, 64-5
  • Westlake Boys High School, Won by default.
  • Mount Albert Grammar School, 47-7
  • Hamilton Boys High School, 34-10
  • Christchurch Boys High School, 22-22

 

New Zealand Secondary Schools

 Sione Lea

Counties Manukau Secondary Schools

 Siliva Ahio

Jone Paumu,

Charlie Luteru

Mark Selwyn

Sekope Kepu

David Belchin

Tevita Leopolo

Josh Davies

Tipuna Ropotini

Milton Sikuea

Folau Fifita

Mavaenga Iosefa

Sevens Success

In addition to a successful 1st XV year the sevens squad achieved tremendous results by retaining the Counties-Manukau Championship. This allowed Wesley to enter the National Condors Sevens Tournament in Wellington. The team performed honorably advancing to the semi-finals before being defeated by eventual winners Mount Albert Grammar, 7-26. At the conclusion of the tournament Siliva Ahio was selected for the New Zealand Sevens team.

 

The Numbers

Played: 10

Won: 9

Lost: 1

Points For: 300

Points Against: 88

 

The Results

  • Pukekohe High School (B) 49-0
  • Rosehill College. 24-7
  • Manurewa High School (A) 34-14
  • Waiuku College. 41-7
  • Rosehill College. 55-5
  • Hastings Boys High School 21-19
  • Wanganui Collegiate 31-10
  • Rongotai College. Won by default
  • Otorohonga College 38-0
  • Mount Albert Grammar School 7-26

 

Bean There Done That

Head coach Chris Bean attended Wesley College as a student from 1983-1988. From 1985-88 he played for the 1XV coached by Chris Grinter. In 1986 the First XV won the Moascar Cup. Bean, a lock forward, said there was “nothing flash about me.” From 1993 he has been a staff member at Wesley and his coaching from 2004-2007 has been flash!

 

Major Feats

Counties Champions: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

National Top For Appearances: 2004, 2005

Counties Sevens Champions: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007

Condor Sevens Champions: 2005

New Zealand Sevens: Frank Halai 114 points, 22 tries for the First XV in 2007.

 

Numbers

 

Year Played Won Lost Drawn For Against
2004 25 23 1 1 1317 159
2005 25 22 3 0 849 201
2006 29 23 3 3 839 325
2007 23 20 2 1 1025 62
Total 102 88 9 5 4030 747
P.S. The New Zealand Schools were unbeaten winning 5 out of 5 games. The highlights were a 30-17 victory over Fiji Schools and a 20-15 win over Australia Schools. From 2001-2004 Christchurch Boys High School won 48 of 49 Press Cup Games. Wesley has won the Condor Sevens 6 times, a record number of victories. In 2008 Ben Hancock took over the First XV and started with 18 wins in 19 games!

 

Acknowledgments: A huge thanks to Ben Hancock and Chris Bean at Wesley College for their assistance.

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