The Nelson College First XV celebrate after winning the Moascar Cup for the first time thanks to a 18-3 win over Timaru Boys’High School, in Timaru on Saturday. Photo: Supplied.

Nelson College switch focus to keeping Moascar Cup

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Winning the Moascar Cup is one thing, but keeping it will require the same steely resolve the Nelson College First XV showed in their 18-3 win over Timaru Boys’ High School on Saturday.

The Moascar Cup is essentially the Ranfurly Shield of New Zealand secondary school rugby and has been around since the 1920s.

It is the first time Nelson College has held, or even challenged for, the Cup, with team manager Peter Grigg saying while it’s a once in a lifetime feeling to win it, keeping it will be the bigger challenge.

“You speak to players who held the Ranfurly Shield and they say you go out there each weekend and try to win it all over again.

“That will be our attitude. The guys know they achieved something pretty special.”

Peter says the importance of the Cup was spoken about in detail during the week and he says his team did well to shutdown TBHS’s backline threats.

Captain Willy Havilli led the way for the visitors as he scored 13 points, including a crucial individual try in the second half which gave Nelson College a game-defining buffer on the scoreboard. “Willy controlled us around the park really well and led from the front.”

An early try from winger Archie Smith set Nelson College on their way and, while they only led 8-3 at halftime, 10 more points from Havili and impenetrable Nelson defence meant the Moascar Cup was on its way to its third new home in as many weeks.

TBHS had beaten St Andrews to earn it for the first time the previous weekend and, ironically, it would be the Christchurch school that will travel to Nelson College on Saturday to try to win it back.