Isaac Thompson breaks the line
Turbos first five-eighth Isaac Thompson spelt the difference when the students knocked out College Old Boys from the Hankins Shield race at Arena Manawatu on Saturday.
With his forwards steaming, Thompson, son of Varsity coach Geoff, knocked over two penalties and a dropped goal in the last quarter to shut out the 2005, 2006 and 2007 champions.
But his low punting to the corners was the critical part of the semifinal, while hooker Bryn Templeman was the outstanding figure in Kia Toa’s more predictable, 35-17 win over Old Boys-Marist on FMG Stadium.
Ironically, had COB reached the final, they would’ve had star five-eighth Aaron Cruden. Had he played on Saturday, it might have been different. But to Varsity’s credit, their big forwards were on a rampage, clamped COB in their half for much of the second spell and tackled desperately.
The man who had the winning of the game was Turbos’ threequarter Andre Taylor who often cut through the Varsity line and, as time ticked by, a certain try beckoned, which would have won the semifinal.
The pass was slightly high, Taylor grassed it and that was it. But COB coach John Cruden said it probably wouldn’t have been justice because Varsity deserved the win. “At least we had an opportunity this year,” he said. “The better team won on the day.”
Again COB dipped out with the best record, just two losses all year. Varsity have lost six and Kia Toa three. For Geoff Thompson, Varsity’s game plan worked a treat. “The plan was to put the ball in behind and to play percentage rugby. It was who made the most errors.”
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