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Hamilton Boys' High triumph over Grey College to win World Schools

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Peter Meecham/Getty Images)

Hamilton Boys’ High School has won the World Schools 1st XV festival in Thailand with a 22-10 win over Grey College from Bloemfontein from South Africa.

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New Zealand’s national champions opened the scoring in the 21st minute through reserve back Alex Pitts-Brown who squeezed down in the right-hand corner after expansive lead-up work from the entire team.

The try went unconverted to give Hamilton a 5-0 lead which remained the score at half-time after Grey College couldn’t make the most of their own opportunities. A kick pass in the 34th minute looked to be the best of their chances but the ball was spilled.

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Hamilton’s defence was too physical with a number of dominant tackles putting Grey College behind the gain line or disrupting their ball.

Early in the second half Grey’s prop was yellow-carded for a late tackle which gave Hamilton the chance to arrest further control of the game with a one-man advantage.

Breaking off the back of the scrum around halfway, No 8 Oli Mathis burst down the sideline into Grey’s 22 with some smart footwork.

Swinging the ball wide to the opposite touchline on the next phase found fullback Payton Spencer in open space to dive over and the sideline conversion gave Hamilton a 12-0 lead.

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Hamilton started to look ominous, making another break immediately through second five Hiraka Waitai-Haenga after the restart only for Hamilton’s halfback Mac Russ to be held up over the line.

Soon after Spencer had another break on a kick return which took play down to the five metre line. Some quick thinking saw a cross-kick sent wide by first five Wyndham Patuawa and Hamilton crashed over for their third through centre Aki Tuivailala.

Another brilliant sideline conversion by Patuawa gave Hamilton a 19-0 lead after 43 minutes.

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Spencer extended the lead to 22-0 with a monster strike from 51 metres that sailed comfortably past the dead ball line with the strong Pattaya wind at his back.

Grey College fought back in the final quarter, landing two tries. One from a quick tap after winning a maul penalty and another from a rolling maul on the final play of the game but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit.

Hamilton’s first World Schools title is the fourth global schoolboy trophy in the school’s history, after winning the Sanix World Rugby youth tournament three times in 2010, 2011 and 2014.

The Sanix tournament, held in Japan, has run since 2000 but was last played in 2019 before the pandemic.

New Zealand schools have won the Sanix tournament a record nine times, followed by South African schools with six titles.

Hamilton Boys’ High have the most Sanix titles of any school with three, with Paul Roos Gymnasium the next best with two titles.

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