• Will it be case of Double Trouble in NBHS-HBHS clash?

Will it be case of Double Trouble in NBHS-HBHS clash?

Remember when Napier Boys' High School's 1st XV rugby side reached the National Top Four final in 2018?

Yes, that was the year a couple of twins, captain and hooker Tyrone Thompson and midfield back Leo Thompson, were influential figures. Well, there's talk in the Sky Blues camp that another pair of twins, captain and No 8 Gilgal Leutele Malasia and centre Bethel Leutele Malasia (pictured above right and left) could be just as influential this season.

NBHS supporters will get an indication when the Sky Blues host Hastings Boys' High School in a second-round Super 8 fixture today. The twins, who are in their third and final season with the team, were happy with their side's away 27-20 win against Gisborne Boys' High School last weekend and they are confident another victory can be posted today.

"It would be pretty special to win our final match against HBHS on home turf. If we can get our defence right and stick to our structures we can do it," Gilgal said.

He pointed out this year's squad is a lot stronger than the 2019 and 2020 squads.

"We've got a lot more attacking players."

"Our bond between the brothers is a lot stronger too," Bethel said.

"Because the two of us have played together for so long we know what other is going to do and the whole team benefits," Bethel added.

The twins are sons of former long-serving Napier Technical premier player Mark Malasia. While Gilgal will remain in the Bay next year Bethel intends to study law in Otago. 

The Tafai Ioasa-Karl Lowe coached HBHS team also won their first-round Super 8 fixture last weekend with a home 26-13 victory against Palmerston North Boys' High School. Like NBHS coach Brendon Ratcliffe, who has son, vice-captain and openside flanker Max Ratcliffe in his side, Ioasa has son, second five-eighth Tali Ioasa, in his team.

HBHS manager Jason Bird said his troops know they have a tough assignment but it is one they are looking forward to.

"It's a big mountain to climb but the boys are up for it."


After winning the National Top Four title in 2019 HBHS plummeted to last place in last year's Super 8. Several players have returned from last year's squad including talented winger Mefi Tupou (pictured above) who has switched to centre for his third and final year in the 1st XV.

"Mefi has a senior role in the team. Obviously, he has to work on a few more elements of his game following his switch but we're confident in his ability to make the transition," Bird added. 

Teams for today's 12noon encounter:
Napier Boys' High School: Sam Kanthavong, Adam Curran, Bethel Leutele Malasia (vice-captain), Kaitiaki Broughton, Korie Paio, Afa Moleli, Joel Russell, Gilgal Leutele Malasia (captain), Max Ratcliffe (vice-captain), Lochi Mead, Guy von Dadelszen, Nicholas Ennor, Gus Brown, Tyrone Chrystal, Jared Martin.
Substitutes: Tulitaluai Faleiva, Tasman Soanai Oeti, William Rickey, George Manson, Jovian Cleal, Tim Slabbekoorn, Dougal Kerr.

Hastings Boys' High School: Bryson Crawford-Pakoti, Josiah Sakaria, Mefi Tupou, Tali Ioasa, Alex Dickey, Hoera Stephenson, Phillip King-Panapa, Cooper Flanders (captain), James Pese, Kaihau Pasikala, Taufa Kaufononga, Tom Allen, Avian Rihia, Josh Rautahi, Aone Lolofie.
Substitutes: Vikta Tevita, John Palu, Josh Leach, Osca Ritchie, Jordi Viljoen, Preston Whatarau, Bryson Ioane.