After 15 weeks of competition, six sides are now vying for silverware in the UC Championship, with the respective Cup, Plate and Bowl finals set to take place this Saturday 20th August.
The 2016 Crusaders region secondary schools competition began in April and featured 15 teams, who all played one another once during the earlier round-robin fixtures. The top 12 teams progressed through to the semi-finals last weekend, with the top four teams on the overall standings competing for a place in the Cup final, teams placed 5th – 8th contesting the Plate semi-finals and teams in 9th – 12th place contesting the Bowl semi-finals.
This season produced some outstanding matches, showcasing the pride in secondary schools rugby throughout the region. The remaining sides will be determined to end their season with a victory after more than three months of top quality competition.
Rugby Park in Christchurch will host the UC Championship Cup final between Christchurch Boys’ High School and Shirley Boys’ High School, with the match set to kick off at 2:45pm. Beaten finalists in 2015, Shirley Boys’ High School triumphed in their close fought semi-final last weekend, ending the season for top qualifiers Christ’s College with a 17-14 win.
Second placed Christchurch Boys’ High School defeated Nelson College 10-3 to also book their spot in the final. Given that Shirley Boys’ defeated Christchurch Boys’ when they met in the semi-final last season, the final this weekend promises to be an interesting battle and there is no doubt both sides will be up to the occasion.
In the Plate final, Timaru Boys’ High School will host Marlborough Boys’ College from School Park at 11:00am. The two sides met at the same ground just three weeks ago during round robin play, with the home side the victors by 18-12.
The Bowl final will see St Andrew’s College take on St Bede’s College, with that match scheduled to get underway at 12:30pm from Christchurch Park 1.
University of Canterbury Registrar Jeff Field says the University was proud to sponsor such a prominent New Zealand secondary school rugby competition for the second year.
“The skills learned here, both on and off the field, will serve these young people well into the future. They’ve shown commitment to their teams, their studies and demonstrated strong leadership qualities.”