Nelson College captain Anton Segnar will this weekend look to cement his legacy as one of the greatest skippers the school has produced in recent memory as his side hosts the UC Championship final.
After three seasons in the blue stripes, the 18-year-old will play for the final time at home when Christchurch Boys High comes to town.
Anton has enjoyed a superb 1st XV career for Nelson, winning the Quad Tournament twice and being selected in the New Zealand schools’ side.
After a dramatic semi-final win against Christ’s on Saturday, the young German says it’s a surreal feeling to be contesting the UC final.
“I’m struggling to wrap my head around it, the fact it’s a final and on the front field is pretty unreal.”
Anton has played trans- Tasman fixtures for his adopted nation as well as for Crusaders’ development sides, but says the stakes have never been higher than they will be on Saturday.
“This is 100 per cent the biggest game I’ve ever been involved in.”
Nelson has suffered a setback for the final with flanker and vice-captain Fergus Hughes ruled out after fracturing his skull in a tackle.
Fergus has formed part of a formidable loose trio this season with Anton and Taya Brown.
“It’s a massive loss,” Anton says. “He plays such a big role in our team, he and Mason (Lund) make my life so much easier on and off the field.”
However, Anton is confident the side will step up in his absence.
“Jono (Phillips), our coach, has done a great job at building depth in the side so my confidence is high we can get the job done.”
The side booked its spot to host the final after a dramatic semi-final against Christ’s College
Nelson survived atrocious conditions, a late yellow card and an all-out Christ’s onslaught in the dying minutes to hold on for a famous 16-10 win.
“We left heaps of points out there, but in some ways it’s positive because we know how much better we can be for next week.”
The side showed tremendous grit in the dying minutes to survive a Christ’s onslaught while camped on its own line.
The win gave Nelson hosting rights for the final for the first time since 2007.
Should Nelson win on Saturday, the side will travel south to take on Otago Boys for a spot in the country’s coveted top four tournament.
“I am hoping this is not my last game and that the best memory is still to come.”
Anton says he is extremely grateful to be part of the Nelson Rugby College legacy.
“There is so much history and have been so many great players come through the school.”
While he is staying in the region to take up a Mako contract next year, Anton says it will be hard to walk away from Nelson College
“I just want to leave my mark and make the school proud.”
UC Championship Final:
Nelson College vs Christchurch Boys High School, 12.40pm, Nelson College