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
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.
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
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.
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.
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