Big event this weekend first live Sky Sports (Rugby Channel) game played at Memorial Park .
Rathkeale College 1st XV vs Central Hawkes Bay College 7.10pm kick off. Record it on Mysky and get down and watch it live.
Lets PACK THE PARK. DeadBall Charlie
SKY Sport College Rugby ~ FACEBOOK
Rathkeale Ready For Rugby Channel!
Rathkeale College featured at the very first National Top Four in 1982. The First XV hasn’t soared to those heights since, but on Saturday a major milestone in their proud history will be achieved.
Rathkeale will make their debut on Land Rover First XV Rugby when they tackle Central Hawke’s Bay College at Memorial Park, Masterton.
“I can’t wait. The boys are really excited. We have dreamed about this for a long time. We are keen to give a good account of ourselves,” halfback Ben Renton enthuses.
Renton has spent the past two seasons in the First XV and was selected for the Hurricanes under-17’s last year. His family has a fine pedigree in the game. Ben’s uncle Paul Renton made the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ in 1980 and was later an All Black trailist. His cousin Hugh Renton was head prefect at Lindisfarne College in 2013 and is presently contracted to the Hurricanes.
“I was never going to be a soccer player. Rugby runs deep in my family,” Renton laughs.
Renton’s father is a beef and sheep farmer and his mother a gardener. He was born in Hastings, but shifted to Masterton when he was two years old. Prior to college he played all his rugby for the Red Star club.
The early years at Rathkeale were difficult from a rugby perspective.
“The boys are aware of the history, but rugby went a bit downhill for a while. It wasn’t until the Central North Island started that things started to pick up again. We haven’t won many games, but the training have become more intense and we are getting exposed to harder rugby which is making us better, Renton says.
Renton believes the travel which extents as far as Hamilton has helped Rathkeale gain greater recognition in representative selection.
“In the last two years Sam and Ueta Tufuga made the Hurricanes camp and Sam got picked for the Barbarians in 2014. That was a big deal for us,” Renton explains.
Renton desires to make the Hurricanes under-18’s. He says he is a “busy” player who likes to get “stuck in.” Some other players who could push for rep selection include centre Harry Eschenbach, loose forward Temana Matiu, prop Jeremiah Mapusua and Ben’s twin brother, Tom who plays in the midfield.
“We have played two games this season against St. Pats Town and Nelson College. We got a bit of a hiding from Town, but they are strong being the Wellington champs. We played Nelson and did alright. We fell away in the second-half, but they brought on some of their best players and we took of some of ours. We have new coaches which has brought new ideas and energy,” Renton says.
Rathkeale played Central Hawke’s Bay College in the pre-season of 2014 and won. Renton is hopeful Rathkeale can repeat history, but is uncertain about what to expect.
“We don’t really know what to expect. We beat them a couple of years ago, but they were an honest side,” Renton recalls.
The game will be played on an artificial turf at night time. How will that be different to playing on the school field during the day?
“It’s not that different, but at night time the ball tends to be a lot more greasy so ball security is massive.”
Rathkeale played Wairarapa College at night last season and an error in the last-minute cost them victory. Up 11-7 Rathkeale conceded a try on fulltime when Wairarapa No.8 and Hurricanes under-18 representative Bruce Kauika-Petersen powered over.
“That sucked. There were boys crying in the dressing room afterwards,” Renton laments.
Hawke’s Bay Magpie Mason Emerson caused a few tears. Renton recalls a fiery clash with Lindisfarne.
“Lindisfarne was expected to beat us, but we put them under pressure and tempers flared. A fight started and four players got yellow-carded. Because he was injured Hugh (Renton) was the waterboy for Lindisfarne and he was trying to break the fight up. I was on the other team so that was hard case. After the fight Mason come on the field and he is a unit. He scored a two tries and they won,” Renton recalls.
There will be no shortage of passion in the meeting between Rathkeale College and Central Hawke’s Bay College live on Land Rover First XV rugby, 7pm Saturday night.