The 2020 Rugby Season

The season got away to a great start then Covid-19 arrived and put a halt to the season. Once we got out of lockdown and started training we had reduced playing numbers!

U18 Boys 1stXV squad 27 players, U15 Boys squad 21 players, U14 Boys squad 20 players & U15 Girls 10s squad 13 players ending up with a total of 85 players. Before Covid-19 arrived we did have a squad of 18 Girls for a 1st XV team, but only 10 returned to rugby so we had to pull the team out of the competion. Under 17 Boys also had a lack of numbers which was a big disappointment, better luck for 2021.

We would like to thank the following personnel for all the time and effort they have put in over the season: 1stXV head coach Mark Tinnock, coach Stu Harvey, assistant coaches Andrew Rowland & Chris Jackson, managers Dean Addie & Johnny Allan; U15 Boys coaches Blair Evans & George Wishart, manager Mathew Parkes; U14 Boys coaches John Seleer & JJ Morgan, managers Joel Philpot & Geoff Gray; U15 Girls 10s team coaches Dennis Hika & Keiron O’Connell and manager Mrs Urte Berlin, the orange lady. Once again, thanks guys you have been a great help.The following persons also need thanking for their input during the season: Mr Dave Innes 1st XV scrum coach all teams, Regan Johns U15 Boys team and Marty O Connell U15 Girls Team, Rugby Southlands Georgia Mason with the girls and Peter Firth  boys teams, thanks.

During the season we had Club Day and a BBQ which went down very well, thanks to the U15 Girls for cooking the BBQ. Congratulations to players who were nominated for the age group trials and well done to those who made rep teams. U15 Boys team entered the U15 Rural Livestock tournament held in Invercargill, played very well, and enjoyed themselves. They represented James Hargest School with great pride.U15 Girls tournament which was to be held in Gore was cancelled due to Covid -19, bad luck girls.U19 Girls are training for a sevens tournament to be held in Timaru. 

Thanks to the Gym staff that have helped me out over the season Donna Cowie, Jackie McCullum and Waine Harding. Also Simon Richardson thanks. By Craig Philips.


The 1st XV

The 1st XV, like the rest of the rugby community, had an unsettled season with Covid-19 severely reducing the games and delaying the start of the season. With that said, the team took it in their stride and came together very well, and immediately aligned to the team values. The men practised and played hard and ended up finishing in a very respectable fourth place.

The team would like to thank our sponsors, coaches, managers, lion tamers and supporters for all they have done to help the team succeed this year.

There are 13 players ending their playing days at Hargest but we know that they will remain great supporters.Those players are – James Matheson, Jake Meikle, Jordan Penisula, Justin McLean, George Braithwaite, Mitchell Tinnock, Louis Patterson, Jacob McIntyre, Bradley Hay, Aidan O’Connell, Max Nally, Liam Pope, Jack Braithwaite

Thanks to them from the rest of the team for their dedication and we wish them the best of luck for their future endeavours. To the rest of the team; you guys have been exemplary in your actions and have played your hearts out and committed to the values.Finally, thanks to the committee for their great leadership and to Craig for his unwavering commitment. It has been an interesting but rewarding season. Roll on 2021


Under 15 Boys 

After a lockdown and social distancing our season finally got under way with the first official game on the 27th June in Gore, a good win 52-22. With a squad of 22 we started well, the rest of the season saw a mixture of results, including a close battle with Central Rams (Western) which we won 24-22. Unlike last year we didn’t manage to beat Boy’s High, although one game was cancelled as a result of Covid. Maybe that was our win!! The interschool with Taieri High School was a team highlight. The support of the school on the sideline was fantastic and the 1st XV coming onto the field to join the Under 15 players in an impromptu haka was humbling. 

We finished the season by playing in the South Island Under 15 Rugby tournament, held in Invercargill over three days. The boys played great rugby, against some much bigger teams and we ended up  playing our quarter final against the winning team. The boys didn’t give up, learnt from every game and most of all they all got on as mates. Like any rugby team we had players forget boots, mouthguards, time of games and once a parent who was a touch judge had the wrong location. Finally a big thanks to Craig Phillips who did a great job all season, keeping us informed and preparing the grounds for the games in challenging Covid circumstances. 



Under 14 Boys

As with all teams the under 14’s suffered pre-season delays due to Covid-19, to the extent that our first training session involved only 7 players. These 7 players formed the core of our team, constantly encouraging other members to join the team and numbers slowly increased prior to our first game. Some new players had never played rugby before, but what stood out with this team from the very first practice, was the team culture and off field friendships that ensued.

The season proved challenging, with all game scores unreflective of the energy, effort and courage displayed by the team. This courage was evident in all games, with every game having points scored against the opposition and the team never giving up despite some challenging score lines.

The first game was played away in Gore. The team was pumped and looking for a win, but found Gore High School to be a tough competitor with the final score of 84 – 10. Our next game was at home against a well prepared Menzies College team, where the score was a 71 – 5 loss. Verdon College was next, playing at Verdon. The team were beginning to read the game, but were beaten by Verdon College 67-12

The next game was psychologically tough for the team, as they knew all the Boys High teams would be challenging, this game proved no exception with a loss of 78-7 against the Boys High White team. Our second halves always proved more productive than the first halves. The game against DLS Midlands Red played at our home ground gave the team some hope and confidence with the lowest score loss for the season of 46 – 7.

By this stage the team had suffered some crippling injuries that saw key players sidelined, but the game between DLS Midlands Blue provided the most aggressive score with a loss of 96 – 7. This score line really jolted the team’s morale. The Boys High Red team were the following week, but following some intense training and pre-game chocolate, the team played its best rugby of the season, with a 55 – 14 loss.

Even though the season proved tough for the team, the coaching and management staff are very proud of the team and their commitment and the determination to not give up. The team always left the field with their chins up and fronted up to each new game hungry for the win. We all look forward to next season confident that the team will benefit from its challenges in 2020.



U15 Girls

The U15 girl’s team started this season with great expectations, a lot of excitement, a fair amount of chatter and only 7 players.

This core group of girls recruited well to start the first 2 games with 12 players including a great player from St Peters College in Gore.

With a win / loss record of 4 wins 3 losses and 1 draw for the season the girls did exceptionally well in a very competitive grade. 

For the last 2 games of the season the girls played outstandingly well which was very exciting for the coaching group of Keiron O’Connell, Marty O’Connell and Dennis Hika to see.  I’m sure the girls were very disappointed that their season had ended so soon as well.

Special thanks go to Craig Phillips for all of his help and the amount of time he put into the team, Mrs Bierlin who helped with the girls and shared her chocolate at half times, and the expertise that Keiron and Marty bought into coaching this awesome group of girls.

And finally, thank you to the families who entrusted us with their kids for the rugby season we hope they had fun and hope to see them on the rugby field again next year.
Dennis (Denny) Hika.

Boys' Rugby

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The year started with the senior players taking on a Chilean-Argentinian team in the first week of March.  The game and BBQ that followed was a fantastic start to the season.  


Once again, heartfelt thanks to Paul Tomlins, George Wishart, Mike Mika, Simon Richardson (Under 14) Stu Harvey, Rhiane Copland, Mark Tinnock, Matt Pope, (2nd XV) David Innes, Glenn Taylor, Tanya Haywood (1st XV), Aloma Williams, Gareth Oliver and Lisa Tou (Girls) for their commitment in coaching, managing and supporting our teams through their considerable and time intensive volunteer efforts. Our teams are incredibly grateful for everything that you have done.






Girls' Rugby

Girls’ Rugby was, at times, a tough challenge for a group which consisted mainly of novice Year 9 players. The team dug deep throughout the season and produced some great performances. Season highlights included the clash against Wakitipu and the Under 15 Southland and Highlanders Competitions. The team will look to grow in numbers with interest in the game growing at Year 7 and 8 level. Ranui Ward captained the First XV team and Taylor Evans captained the Under 15 squad.