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, 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
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:
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!
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).
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