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2018 NZSS Ki o Rahi Nationals - Teams To Look Out For - Part 5

In the lead up to the 2018 NZ Secondary School Ki o Rahi Nationals we will focus in on the teams that you will need to prepare for, these teams include current and past champions as well as teams on the rise. 

Every week we will feature two teams from around the country, this week we look at two teams who have featured regularly in Ki o Rahi Nationals over the years, but have been absent for a little while - Taita College and Karamu High School.

Taita College Student, Wellington Ki o Rahi Regionals 2016 - courtesy Masanori Udagawa

Taita College Student, Wellington Ki o Rahi Regionals 2016 - courtesy Masanori Udagawa

Taita College

Taita College, how did they make it on this list?  They haven't attended Ki o Rahi Nationals since Gisborne in 2015.  Taita actually finished 2nd in 2016 at their Wellington Regionals, this means they would have qualified for the Nationals in Auckland.  Sometimes it's a little difficult for teams to always attend Nationals, especially if it's far away.  Maybe the cost of travelling has been a little too much over the years. 

Anyway, Taita College definitely deserve to be on this list, they're a top 6 team!  In 2015, the last time Gisborne hosted the Nationals, Taita finished in 6th place.  The year prior in 2014, in their hometown of Wellington, Taita placed 4th after going down to Turanga Wahine, Turanga Tane in their semi-final

You can see footage of Taita in action in this game here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from the footage, Taita are a team that like to use the ball, they're working really hard to get through the TWTT defence with lots of cutting and running into holes, they also have some tricky little plays around the ara.  On Taniwha we've seen some strong jump shots happening in the past. 

It would be really awesome to see Taita College in Gisborne again this year, it all depends on who has qualified and hasn't - of late it's been Mana College being the team to beat in the Wellington area.  

Karamu High School Ki o Rahi team, 2016

Karamu High School Ki o Rahi team, 2016

Karamu High School

Another quality team who were missing from Ki o Rahi Nationals in 2017, they had a good reason though, they didn't qualify.  The strength of Ki o Rahi in the Hawkes Bay means that Hastings Boys/Girls and Te Ara Hou booked a place at Ki o Rahi Nationals in Auckland instead. 

Karamu High School have been a force in ki o rahi for a little while, with a 9th place in Gisborne 2015 and then a 6th place in 2016 at Tokoroa among their notable finishes.   

They're a team that are strong all around, they have a strong defence and have had players who are very good at making last effort tags, they are also very good with their shooting set up - they have shooters who can maintain the ki for a while and move the kaitiaki around, they also have plenty of ability to jump shoot too.  Check out the link below for some of their styles, again thank you to Rangatahi Tu Rangatira for the vid:

Karamu v Aotea 2015 Gisborne

Their only concern may be that they've never broken into the top 4 so understanding that may still elude them. 

Karamu offer up some of the best referees in the country too, this must mean there is a real love of the game from within their school and community and so if Karamu do qualify for Ki o Rahi Nationals 2018 you can bet they will be there!

Next week:

In our final blog on 'Who to watch out for' we take a look at a few other schools that could be in attendance including the very first Ki o Rahi National Champions Tolaga Bay Area School (Uawa).

Thank you to Masanori Udagawa as we 'pinched' a photo from the photowellington.com page - please check out the website to see many more awesome shots of Ki o Rahi in and around Wellington.

To stay up to date with any Ki o Rahi news and tournaments please follow us on our Facebook page.

2018 NZSS Ki o Rahi Nationals - Teams To Look Out For - Part 4

In the lead up to the 2018 NZ Secondary School Ki o Rahi Nationals we will focus in on the teams that you will need to prepare for, these teams include current and past champions as well as teams on the rise. 

Every week we will feature two teams from around the country, this week we look at two teams that have been regulars at Ki o Rahi Nationals over the past 5 years - Lytton High School and Tokoroa High School.

Students from Lytton High School, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Students from Lytton High School, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Lytton High School

Last time Ki o Rahi Nationals were held in their hometown of Gisborne, Lytton High School (Ritana Toa) walked away with the trophy and the title of National Champions. 

In this 2015 Ki o Rahi Nationals Final against Gisborne Boys and Girls, Lytton escaped defeat from their local rivals through some strong shooting and solid defence, they were also fortunate to be awarded some points via the wairua.  This is one of the great games of Ki o Rahi ever played.  If you have not seen the game, check the footage courtesy of Rangatahi Tu Rangatira below:

2015 Ki o Rahi Nationals Final (1st quarter)

2015 Ki o Rahi Nationals Final (2nd quarter)

2015 Ki o Rahi Nationals Final (3rd quarter)

2015 Ki o Rahi Nationals Final (4th quarter)

Lytton High School is a team which is no stranger to semi-final level having been there on a few occasions,  they’ll be looking to return to this stage in 2018 after they finished 10th in Auckland in 2017.  However, they had a young team in Auckland and these students will now be a year older and a year wiser so Lytton will be a team that everyone has to watch out for. 

Lytton are a team that are always willing to change their style up, they play to their strengths and come up with tactics to disguise their weaknesses.  A team that has been to the semi-finals on many occasions and who already know how to win a tournament should never be underestimated.   

Students from Tokoroa High School, 2016 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Students from Tokoroa High School, 2016 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Tokoroa High School

Tokoroa have been one of our favourite teams to watch over the years of Ki o Rahi Nationals!  They play an enjoyable style of Ki o Rahi with a Ki oma that utilises lots of passing and running circles around people.  They also have a fun style of shooting that involves plenty of jump shooting and passing over, under and around to try and totally confuse the kaitiaki.

Unfortunately, Tokoroa were absent from 2017's Ki o Rahi Nationals in Auckland, and it wasn't the same without them.  Hopefully they make a return this year in Gisborne, as Tokoroa have been a regular in the top half of the competition over the years placing 7th in Tokoroa 2016 and 5th in Gisborne 2015. 

They're another team trying to break into that elusive top 4, a good showing at their regionals should tell them how well they're going to go at Nationals.  Tokoroa are in the same region as top 4 schools Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga and Hamilton Boys and Girls so if they can do well against one/both of them at regionals they'll more than likely do really well at Nationals! 

Kia kaha Tokoroa, want to see you guys in Gisborne!

Next week:

We take a look at another two teams missing from Ki o Rahi Nationals in 2017, but two teams that can upset any of the favoured teams on their day - Karamu High School and Taita College.

To stay up to date with any Ki o Rahi news and tournaments please follow us on our Facebook page.

2018 NZSS Ki o Rahi Nationals - Teams To Look Out For - Part 3

In the lead up to the 2018 NZ Secondary School Ki o Rahi Nationals we will focus in on the teams that you will need to prepare for, these teams include current and past champions as well as teams on the rise. 

Every week we will feature two teams from around the country, this week we look at 2017 Ki o Rahi National Quarter-Finalists and two teams on the rise 5th placed Mana College and 6th placed Dannevirke High School.

Students from Mana College, Ki o Rahi Nationals 2017

Students from Mana College, Ki o Rahi Nationals 2017

Mana College

Mana College have been attending Ki o Rahi Nationals on and off for a while, someone out there might be able to help us out but we definitely remember seeing them in Wellington 2014, Gisborne 2015 and Auckland 2017.     

They're a strong team that have improved each time they've been at Nationals, with Auckland last year being their best finish to date.  Mana finished 5th beating teams like Kawakawa mai Tawhiti, Lytton High School, Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Waiu o Ngati Porou, Tai Wananga, Hastings Boys and Girls and Dannevirke High School along the way. 

They had two losses in 2017, one in pool play to 2017 champions Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae, where they scored the second most points of any team on them.  Their other loss came in their first trip to the quarter finals where they lost to beasts Hamilton Boys and Girls. 

Mana definitely know how to score points, they have a solid Ki oma and an even more impressive Taniwha.  One thing we've noticed about Mana over the years is that they shoot with a lot of power, a few of their shooters look like they may have transitioned over from sports like softball or maybe dodgeball, they have whip like arms. 

Getting a taste of finals in 2017 will no doubt have given Mana the desire to go one better in 2018, they know what it takes to reach this level of play now so will be doing everything possible in their preparations to break into that ever elusive top 4.

 

dannevirke.jpg

Dannevirke High School

Dannevirke might think they’re being slept on but their finish in 2017 has them well and truly on the radar.  They've been steadily climbing the rankings over the last 3 years.  After a low finish in 2015, they finished 8th at Tokoroa in 2016 and 6th in Auckland 2017.

Dannevirke have a pretty well rounded attacking game like most of the top 6 teams of 2017, they scored some really impressive tries in Auckland and we also noticed an improved shooting game.  An area that they could focus in on is their defence, they finished 2nd in their pool in 2017, with a tally of 81 points for and 74 points against, meaning they just scraped through to the championship rounds. 

But once they were there Dannevirke pushed Nga Tapuwae hard for 3 quarters before going down 22 - 10 in a game that could have gone either way.  They then beat Te Ara Hou convincingly before losing a closely fought battle with Mana College 35 - 27.

The way they're playing should ensure Dannevirke maintain their top 8 status but with an improved defence we can see them breaking through to the top 4.  Dannevirke will be a team we will be keeping tabs on in Gisborne! 

Next week:

We take a look at two of our favourite teams to watch Lytton High School and Tokoroa High School.   

To stay up to date with any Ki o Rahi news and tournaments please follow us on our Facebook page.

2018 NZSS Ki o Rahi Nationals - Teams To Watch Out For Part 2

In the lead up to the 2018 NZ Secondary School Ki o Rahi Nationals we will focus in on the teams that you will need to prepare for, these teams include current and past champions as well as teams on the rise. 

Every week we will feature two teams from around the country, this week we look at 2017 Ki o Rahi National Semi-Finalists 3rd placed Gisborne Boys and Girls (Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane) and 4th placed Hamilton Boys and Girls.

Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane

Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane are the other pinnacle of Secondary Schools Nationals in Aotearoa.  They are the most consistent team in the country, already having been crowned champions more than once.  They have also been very unlucky not to win the tournament on a couple of other occasions. 

Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane (TWTT) were the first team to win Ki o Rahi Nationals twice, they were also the first team to do so back to back, winning the tournament in 2011 and 2012.   

In the last 5 years TWTT have been the runner-up 4 times, last year in 2017 they placed 3rd in the last tournament.  Every year they feature in the Top 3 teams in the country. 

In the last 5 years they could have won the tournament a 3rd and even 4th time. At Ki o Rahi Nationals Wellington in 2014, TWTT were at least 11 points up in the last quarter of the Grand Final before the Rakaumanga shooters put on a shooting spree and managed to beat TWTT.  Also at Ki o Rahi Nationals Gisborne in 2015, TWTT were ahead for the majority of the game before being pipped at the last minute by Lytton High School. 

What makes TWTT so good?  In our opinion they have a very well rounded team, usually a mix of very athletic students from both Gisborne Boys and Girls.  Their boys are generally built with speed, power and great footwork - the video below courtesy of Rangatahi Tu Rangatira shows off this amazing footwork and even the incredible "Staple" try. 

2015 Gisborne Ki o Rahi Nationals Final - TWTT v Ritana - 2nd quarter

Their girls are also amazing, they work really hard on and off the ball, they are fierce and controlled but they are also willing to put their bodies on the line for their team, they seem to be always throwing themselves all over the place - whether it be diving to block the tupu, or diving to make tags or diving to score tries you can guarantee those girls will give their all. 

They often have at least one or two aggressive players in their team and this can really be a point of difference for them, it can be upsetting for some teams to play against so if you're not ready for it then be prepared for TWTT to walk all over your team. 

They're in their hometown in 2018, the tournament is actually held right by their schools so expect TWTT to be going hard to claim this title.  Should they win they would be the first team to win the tournament a 3rd time. 

Hamilton Boys and Girls

Students from Hamilton Boys and Girls, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Students from Hamilton Boys and Girls, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Hamilton Boys and Girls are nationally renowned for being the probably the best sporting schools in the country.  They are super amazing at sports like Rugby, Sevens and Touch.  Unfortunately for all other schools at Ki o Rahi Nationals the skills students master in these sports transfer beautifully to the game of Ki o Rahi. 

Hamilton Boys and Girls have only been attending Ki o Rahi Nationals for the past 3 years, making their debut at Gisborne 2015.  That year they finished 3rd along the way managing to beat close rival and Ki o Rahi greats Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga. 

In their second year of Nationals at Tokoroa 2016, they blew past all comers eventually beating legends Turanga Wahine and Turanga Tane in the final to be crowned Ki o Rahi National champions for the first time. 

During pool play in Auckland 2017 they scored 132 points for and only had 22 points scored against them, before both Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga and Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane revenged losses from the previous years meaning Hamilton Boys and Girls finished 4th in 2017.   

If you didn't see the Condor 7s then you might not realise that Hamilton Boys and Girls both won their respective tournaments in 2017.  In fact the boys are champions of the Condor 7s since 2015 and the girls claimed their second title of the past 3 years.  Students from Hamilton Boys and Girls make up a good chunk of the NZ teams that are selected at the conclusion of the tournament too. 

Going on last years teams and the photo above they have students who cross over to play Ki o Rahi as well.  So even though they haven't been playing Ki o Rahi for as long as some other schools they already understand the work ethic and teamwork needed to be successful at a National level. 

Hamilton Boys and Girls are a real force on Ki oma, they have very fit students who can and will run for days.  Both their boys and girls have tremendous footwork and will more than likely beat you in a one on one battle. 

All we can say is fingers crossed your team isn’t in the same pool as them come 2018 Nationals.

Next week:

We look at two teams on the move in the Ki o Rahi world, 2017's 5th placed Mana College and 6th placed Dannevirke High School. 

To stay up to date with any Ki o Rahi news and tournaments please follow us on our Facebook page.

 

2018 NZSS Ki o Rahi Nationals - Teams to watch out for Part 1

In the lead up to the 2018 NZ Secondary School Ki o Rahi Nationals we will focus in on the teams that you will need to prepare for, these teams include current and past champions as well as teams on the up. 

Every week we will feature two schools from around the country, this week we start with the top 2 teams from 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals – Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae and Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga. 

Students from Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Students from Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Te Kura Maori o Nga Tapuwae

The 2017 Champions - last year was the first year Nga Tapuwae made the grand final and the first time they won it, they did so in front of their home crowd in Auckland.  They wont have the same amount of support in Gisborne so it will be tougher for them to reach the heights of 2017.  

This Kura have been a regular feature at Ki o Rahi Nationals for the past 5 years, placing in the top 8 every year since their inception.  They have improved steadily every year having made the semi’s for the first time at Tokoroa in 2016, they took it one step further in 2017 so will be looking for at least a top 4 spot this time around.

Nga Tapuwae have a flowing style of ki oma with lots of cutting that gets them lots of points, they also have a different styles of taniwha defence that can be hard to figure out, this helps them to limit points scored against them.

Their strongest asset in 2017 though may have been their kaitiaki.  They had very resilient girls who worked really hard for their team. A small school so if they haven’t lost many of the senior students then Nga Tapuwae will be tough again.           

Students from Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Students from Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga, 2017 Ki o Rahi Nationals

Te Wharekura o Rakaumangamanga

One of the pinnacles of Ki o Rahi at Secondary School Level in New Zealand, no better make that the world.   

In the last 5 years they’ve been crowned champions at Ki o Rahi Nationals twice, going back to back in 2013 and 2014.  They finished 4th in 2015, 3rd in 2016 and 2nd in 2017.  That means they've finished in the top 4 for at least the last 5 years, that's amazing - they're like the Melbourne Storm of Ki o Rahi.

In our opinion Rakaumanga have probably the best taniwha shooters in the game, their shooters are fierce young men who make jumping into the air look easy, this is beautiful to watch and it must be intimidating for the kaitiaki who have to go up against them.  These shooters have a few tricks to help them get hits on the tupu and because their shots have power behind them the tupu can really be rocked. .  

They're another team with a ki oma that likes to move about and this can really help them in racking up their points.  Over the years they’ve adjusted their defence to suit the players they have and again they don't allow you to score that many points against them.  Always a threat, Rakaumanga will be looking to go one better in 2018.

Next week:

We look at semi-finalists from 2017, 3rd placed Turanga Wahine Turanga Tane as well as 4th placed Hamilton Boys and Girls. 

To stay up to date with any Ki o Rahi news and tournaments please follow us on our Facebook page.