• NBHS eye third taste of Moascar Cup glory in four years

NBHS eye third taste of Moascar Cup glory in four years

Being a regular spectator at Napier Boys' High School 1st XV rugby games last season I was impressed with the progress being made by lock Gus Brown.

So I was a little surprised to see Brown (pictured above) playing tighthead prop for the Sky Blues this season. He will again have this role when NBHS challenge Rotorua Boys' High School for the Moascar Cup, the Ranfurly Shield of New Zealand Secondary Schools rugby, in a fifth round Super 8 fixture in Rotorua tomorrow.

"My speed wasn't the best for a lock. I'm enjoying being a frontrower and while I know I need to work on my technique Francisco is helping me with plenty of tips," Brown explained referring to Magpies scrum coach Francisco Deformes.

A son of former Magpies and Taradale midfield back Hugh Brown and nephew of former Magpies forwards Greg and Simon Halford, Brown, played for NBHS when they took it off Hastings Boys' High School and also when they lost it to Rotorua Boys' High School. He is confident NBHS can bring the cup home.

"We know Rotorua are pretty sharp and like to spread the ball. We have to shut them down," Brown said.


Fellow 16-year-old Year 12 student and second-year 1st XV player, openside flanker Max Ratcliffe (pictured above), reckons a drop in standards at training contributed to their 34-7 fourth round loss to Hamilton Boys' High School in Napier last weekend.

"Our Monday training wasn't as good as the boys weren't focused. We trained better later in the week and this was reflected in our game when we had a really good first half and the second half was a bit slack.

"Everything has gone really well this week. If the boys do everything we have worked on we will have a good chance of getting the result we want."

While Ratcliffe is capable of playing all three loose forward roles he is relishing the openside job. Both he and Brown were the youngest players at the Hurricanes under-18 camp last year being selected for that camp is his main goal this season.   

His father and NBHS head coach Brendon Ratcliffe agreed his lads were "pretty lucky."

"The vast majority of schoolboy players never get a challenge for the cup. Our school will have its third challenge within four seasons this weekend."

In 2018 NBHS had the Moascar Cup for 48 hours after winning it in their first match at the National Top Four tournament and losing it in their second.
The NBHS team for tomorrow's 12noon match is:

Korie Paio, Dougal Kerr, Bathal Malasia (vice-captain), Kaitiaki Broughton, Josh Augustine, Lawson Gillies, Corey Berkett, Gilgal Malasia (captain), Max Ratcliffe (vice-captain), Lochi Mead, Nic Ennor, Will Rickey, Gus Brown, Tyrone Chrystal, Jarrod Martin. Substitutes: Forwards, Tasman Soanai-Oeti, Tuli Faleiva, Guy Von Dadelszen, George Manson. Backs, Joel Russell, Tim Slabbekoorn, Adam Curran.